MONROE, La. – Alonzo Hampton, a four-year letterman as a defensive back at ULM from 1993-96, has returned to his alma mater to serve as assistant head coach and safeties coach for first-year Warhawk head coach Terry Bowden.
In 2019, Hampton worked as a defensive analyst for Chad Morris at Arkansas.
He served as special teams coordinator for Willie Taggart at Florida State in 2018. It marked the fourth different time in Hampton’s career that he had joined one of Taggart’s coaching staffs, including previous stops at Oregon, South Florida and Western Kentucky.
Under Hampton’s guidance, FSU’s D.J. Matthews emerged as one of the nation’s most dangerous punt returners in 2018, finishing sixth in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision with his 13.5-yard average (19 returns for 257 yards). Matthews returned five punts for a career-high 145 yards at No. 17 Miami, including a 74-yard return for a touchdown. His 145 punt return yards were the most amassed by an NCAA FBS player in 2018 as well as the third-highest single-game total in Seminole history. His 74-yard punt return marked the longest of his career and also tied for the second-longest punt return in an ACC game during the 2018 season.
“During his coaching career, Alonzo Hampton has built the reputation of being not only an outstanding secondary coach but also as a tremendous mentor of student-athletes,” Bowden said. “Alonzo pays great attention to details and has great skills as a communicator.
“He’s also a really good fit for our staff because he has the fire and passion that only a former letterwinner can have for ULM. Alonzo has been a part of the ULM family for a long time, and now, he can share his love for this University and its football program with our staff members. As assistant head coach, he’ll also play an important role in building relationships here on campus as well as in our local community.”
“I’m humble and grateful for the opportunity to return to ULM and become a part of Coach Terry Bowden’s staff,” Hampton said. “This is my alma mater, and as a former player, I want the program to do well. Honestly, it was a dream come true when Coach Bowden called and offered me the position. It’s difficult to describe the excitement I felt.
“I had always hoped to one day to return my alma mater. I appreciate all of the hard work the former NLU and ULM players put into our program before. I also understand the circumstances we’re in now, coming off an 0-10 season. I’m here to be part of the coaching staff that gets this program back on track and going in the right direction.”
During the 2017 season, he served as a defensive analyst at Oregon after spending two years (2015-16) as defensive backs coach at South Florida, where he also oversaw special teams in 2016. USF won a school-record 11 games and finished No. 19 in the final Associated Press Poll, thanks in large part to a defensive unit that forced 26 turnovers, the 18th-highest total in the NCAA FBS, and scored three defensive touchdowns.
During his two-year tenure at USF, Hampton coached two-time All-American Athletic Conference cornerback Deatrick Nichols, who recorded four interceptions each in 2015 and ’16 and finished with 11 career picks (tied for third on the school’s all-time list). The Bulls ranked 14th in the NCAA FBS with 17 interceptions in 2015, including 13 by the defensive backs.
He also helped mentor D’Ernest Johnson, who earned second-team all-conference honors as a return specialist in 2016 including an 83-yard punt return for a touchdown – the second longest in USF history.
A 19-year coaching veteran, Hampton also experienced successful stints as a high school coach in Arkansas and Georgia. Prior to reuniting with Taggart in Tampa, he spent two years (2013-14) as defensive backs coach at Tift County High School, where he helped lead the Blue Devils to a 7-4 record in 2014 and secured a spot in the Class 6A playoff bracket.
Hampton first connected with Taggart at Western Kentucky, serving as defensive backs coach for two years (2011-12) and helping the Hilltoppers post back-to-back 7-win seasons, including the program’s first postseason bowl appearance in the 2012 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (against Central Michigan). WKU ranked among the NCAA FBS leaders in total defense (No. 26 at 348.2 yards per game) and pass defense (No. 34 at 209.8 ypg.) in 2012. In addition, the Hilltoppers led the Sun Belt Conference in rushing defense (138.4 ypg.), pass efficiency defense (131.0 rating) and total defense. WKU’s secondary was anchored by future NFL Draft selection Jonathan Dowling (2014: seventh round by the Oakland Raiders).
A native of Warren, Ark., Hampton previously spent five seasons (2006-10) at Arkansas Pine Bluff where he served in a variety of roles, including cornerbacks coach, defensive backs coach and eventually defensive coordinator in 2009-10. In 2008, the Golden Lions ranked among the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision leaders in pass efficiency defense (eighth with 99.6 rating), pass defense (17th at 160.9 ypg.) and interceptions (29th with 15).
Hampton began his coaching career in the high school ranks in Arkansas, first as defensive coordinator at Warren High School for four years (2000-03) then as head coach at Dumas High School for two seasons (2004-05). During his tenure at Warren, he helped the Lumberjacks to a combined record of 48-12, including back-to-back Class AAA state championships in 2001-02, while also serving as the head track and field coach. While leading the Dumas program, Hampton also completed a minority internship with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.
The former ULM cornerback played his first year (1993) for Dave Roberts and the next three seasons (1994-96) for Ed Zaunbrecher. A two-time All-Louisiana Second-Team selection by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, Hampton finished his career with 201 tackles, three interceptions and 16 pass break-ups. He served as a team captain as a senior in 1996. Hampton also competed in track and field for the Warhawks in 1993.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from ULM in May 1996 and a Master of Arts in teaching from the University of Arkansas at Monticello in August 2002.
Following his collegiate career, Hampton played professionally for the Seattle Seahawks and Jacksonville Jaguars as well as NFL Europe’s Frankfurt Galaxy. He started for Frankfurt in back-to-back World Bowls, including the 1999 championship team. Hampton and his wife Yolanda have five children, including four sons: Aaron, Rashad, A.J., a third-year defensive back at Northwestern, and Ashton; and one daughter, Kenya.