Andrew Thacker returned to the Knights for 2015 as their safeties coach. Thacker arrived in Orlando following one season as a defensive assistant with the Atlanta Falcons. Coach Thacker is responsible for recruiting Northern Florida from Tallahassee to Gainesville (Alachua, Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Madison, Suwanee, Taylor, Union and Wakulla County). Other areas include: Southwest Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and South Carolina.
In 2014, Atlanta ranked 12th in the NFL in interceptions. Among that group was former UCF standout safety Kemal Ishmael, who totaled four picks in his second full NFL campaign.
Thacker spent 2013 as the safeties coach at Southern Miss, and was a defensive graduate assistant from 2010-12 at Oklahoma State where his main focus was on the linebackers. He helped OSU's Caleb Lavey and Shaun Lewis achieve All-Big 12 Honorable Mention status in 2012.
The Cowboys went 11-2 in 2010 en route to defeating Arizona in the Alamo Bowl, then were the Big 12 Champions in 2011 with a 12-1 record, a No. 3 final AP ranking and a win over Stanford in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. In 2012, Oklahoma State was 8-5 including a win over Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Thacker was a defensive graduate assistant at UCF from 2008-09, the same time frame current director of player personnel Mike Buscemi served as the offensive graduate assistant for the Knights. UCF's defense in 2008 allowed just 333.8 yards per game, and was led by All-Conference USA First Team defensive backs Sha'reff Rashad and Joe Burnett. The Knights then recorded an 8-5 record in 2009 with an appearance in the St. Petersburg Bowl. Defensive end Bruce Miller claimed the C-USA Defensive Player of the Year award, and he was joined by defensive mates Jarvis Geathers and Cory Hogue on the all-league first team.
Thacker enjoyed a four-year career at Furman where he started at safety for the Paladins. He was the 2004 Southern Conference Freshman of the Year. Furman was 35-15 with Thacker in the secondary, and it made three NCAA FCS Playoff appearances.
A native of Cumming, Ga., Thacker received his bachelor's degree from Furman in political science and Spanish. He is married to the former Liza Calhoun.
---The Thacker File---
Hometown: Cumming, Ga.
College Education: Furman, 2007
Safeties - UCF, 2015
Defensive Assistant - Atlanta Falcons, 2014
Safeties - Southern Miss, 2013
Defensive Graduate Assistant - Oklahoma State, 2010-12
Defensive Graduate Assistant - UCF, 2008-09