JOE TUMPKIN oversaw an aggressive and productive group of linebackers in 2008, his first season at Pitt.
Middle linebacker Scott McKillop was selected a first team All-American and the Big East Defensive Player of the Year. McKillop was one of the country's most prolific tacklers, ranking third nationally in solo stops (6.31 solos/ game), 10th in total tackles (tied, 10.54 tackles/game) and 22nd in tackles for loss (tied, 1.35 TFLs/game).
McKillop was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2009 NFL Draft and was instantly lauded by 49ers staff for his knowledge and toughness.
A pair of first-year starters also thrived under Tumpkin's tutelage. Austin Ransom elevated from special teams performer to starting Will linebacker and finished as the team's second-leading tackler (89 stops). Additionally, Sam linebacker Greg Williams was named the Big East's Top Defensive Freshman by Rivals.com.
Tumpkin joined the Panthers after spending three seasons (2005-07) coaching linebackers at Southern Methodist University, where he served under then-SMU head coach Phil Bennett, now Pitt's defensive coordinator.
While at SMU, Tumpkin oversaw the development of All-Conference USA linebacker Reggie Carrington. During the 2006 season, SMU earned bowl eligibility behind a defense that ranked 24th nationally against the run (107.5 yards/game).
In 2007, Tumpkin earned a coaching fellowship with the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As part of the fellowship, he worked with Tampa Bay's coaching staff during the team's July training camp.
From 2002-04, Tumpkin served at Sam Houston State, where he coached the linebackers (2002-03) and secondary (2004). He was instrumental in the development of Sam Houston State linebackers T.J. Dibble, a two-time All-Southland selection, and Paul Donelson, who earned All-America honors. In 2004, the Bearkats captured a share of the Southland Conference championship, advanced to the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs and reached as high as No. 3 in the national rankings.
Tumpkin was the defensive coordinator at Lakeland College during the 2000 and '01 seasons. From 1998-99, he was the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at Southern Illinois, where he helped mold Bart Scott, who went on to be a Pro Bowl performer for the Baltimore Ravens. (Scott was signed by the New York Jets as a coveted free agent this past offseason.) In 1996 Tumpkin coached the linebackers at Defiance College.
Tumpkin's additional experience includes graduate assistantships at Lakeland (1994), Northern Michigan (1995) and Western Michigan (1997).
As a collegian, Tumpkin was a team captain and four-year letterman at Michigan Tech. He earned his bachelor's degree from Michigan Tech in 1994.
Hometown: Miami, Fla.
Alma Mater: Michigan Tech, '94
Family: Tumpkin and his wife Maria have two sons, Christopher (23) and Nikolas (19).
Lakeland, 1994, graduate assistant.
Northern Michigan, 1995, graduate assistant.
Defiance, 1996, linebackers.
Western Michigan, 1997, graduate assistant.
Southern Illinois, 1998-99, linebackers & recruiting coordinator.
Lakeland, 2000-01, defensive coordinator.
Sam Houston State, 2002-03, linebackers; 2004, secondary.
Southern Methodist, 2005-07, linebackers.
Pittsburgh, 2008-present, linebackers.
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