Will Muschamp followed up his first year as LSU’s defensive coordinator with an even more impressive performance in 2003, overseeing a Tiger defense that ranked first in the nation in both scoring (11.0 points per game) and total defense (252.0 yards per game). The Tigers also ranked third in the nation in rushing defense (62.0 yards per game), while holding 13 of the 14 opponents to fewer than 20 points on their way to claiming the 2003 national title.
In all, the Tigers ranked first in the SEC in seven different defensive categories, which included setting a school-record with 44 sacks. Featuring a defense that was big on speed, size and aggressiveness, the Tigers scored a school-record seven defensive touchdowns in 2003, including one in each of the final three games of the season. It was Marcus Spears’ 20-yard interception return against Oklahoma in the national championship game that proved to be the winning points for the Tigers. Five of LSU’s seven defensive TDs came on interception returns, while two were fumble returns.
When teams decided to throw on the Tigers, they found the challenge equally as difficult as LSU picked off 21 passes, while holding the opposition to an 89.8 pass efficiency, a figure that led the SEC and ranked second in the nation. Corey Webster led all Tigers with seven interceptions as LSU held its opponents to only 12 passing TDs all season. Muschamp, now in his fourth season at LSU, served as the Tigers’ linebacker coach in 2001 before being elevated to his current position in the spring of 2002. At 33 years of age, Muschamp is one of the youngest coordinators at the Division I level.
In his first year as LSU’s defensive coordinator, Muschamp managed a Tiger defense that ranked among the best in the nation. LSU led the SEC and ranked second in the nation in pass defense (152.7 yards per game) and the Tigers were third in the league and eighth nationally in total defense (286.8 ypg). For the season, the Tigers allowed only 18.3 points a contest, which ranked 15th in the nation.
As LSU’s linebacker coach, Muschamp put on the field two one of the nation’s top defenders in Trev Faulk and Bradie James. Faulk and James both were semfinalist for the Butkus Award and both were named First-Team All-SEC during their careers. James, a fourth round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2003, capped his senior season in 2002 with a school-record 154 tackles.
Muschamp’s promotion to defensive coordinator marks the second time he has held such a position at the collegiate level. Prior to joining the Tigers, Muschamp served as the defensive coordinator at Valdosta State for one year in 2000. Muschamp helped lead the Blazers to a 10-2 overall mark, a share of the Gulf South Conference title and an appearance in the NCAA Division II playoffs.
Prior to his year at Valdosta State, Muschamp spent the 1999 season coaching the secondary at Eastern Kentucky. Muschamp served as the secondary coach for West Georgia in 1998. From 1995-1997, Muschamp was a graduate assistant coach at Auburn.
Muschamp was a four-year letterwinner at Georgia from 1991-1994 and he served as co-captain of the defense as a senior. In four years with the Bulldogs, Muschamp played in two bowl games, helping Georgia to a 24-15 win over Arkansas in the 1991 Independence Bowl and a 21-14 victory over Ohio State in the 1993 Citrus Bowl.
Muschamp earned a spot on the SEC Academic Honor Roll in 1993. Following his graduation from Georgia in 1994, Muschamp moved to Auburn where he spent the next two seasons as a graduate assistant coach. Muschamp earned his master’s degree from Auburn in 1997.While at Auburn, Muschamp coached with current LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher and former Tiger defensive line coach Pete Jenkins.
Muschamp is a native of Rome, Ga., and he is married to the former Carol Davis of Thomaston, Ga. and the couple has one child, Jackson (3).
The Muschamp File
Year at LSU: Fourth (appointed on Feb. 22, 2001)
Birthdate: Aug. 3, 1971
High School: Darlington (Ga.) High School
Alma Mater: Georgia, ’94
Post-Graduate: Auburn, ’97
1995-97 Auburn (Graduate Assistant)
1997 Jacksonville State (Outside Linebackers)
1998 West Georgia (Secondary)
1999 Eastern Kentucky (Secondary)
2000 Valdosta State (Defensive Coordinator)
2001 LSU (Linebackers 2001; Defensive Coordinator 2002- )