Wommack Will Retire at Season’s End
Batoon Has Served on Rebel Staff since 2012
Rebel Coaching Staff Receives National Recognition in 2014
The Rebels (8-2) Prepare for SEC West Showdown at Arkansas Saturday
Rebels Renew Local Rivalry with Tigers
Wommack’s 2015 defense continued to be Landsharks throughout the season, intercepting 15 passes and returning four of them for touchdowns. The four pick-sixes tied a school record that dates back to 1938.
In his first year guiding the Rebel linebackers, Wommack coached the team’s leading tackler, sophomore DeMarquis Gates, who posted 76 stops. Despite starting just four games, he was a focal point in the heart of the Landshark defense. He was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week after posting a career-high 14 tackles in the Rebels’ Magnolia Bowl win over LSU.
The 2015 Rebels ranked top three among SEC teams in tackles for loss (8.1/game - 7th in NCAA), interceptions (15 - t23rd in NCAA) and takeaways (23 - t38th in NCAA).
In 2014, Wommack directed an Ole Miss squad that led the nation in scoring defense (16.0 ppg) and fewest touchdowns allowed (24). With talent and high-flying energy at every level of the defense, the Rebels also led the SEC in interceptions (22), turnovers forced (32), tackles for loss (7.6/game) and opponent third-down conversion (33.0 percent).
For the fourth time in his career, Wommack was a nominee for the Broyles Award, presented annually to the most outstanding assistant coach in college football. He also earned National Defensive Backs Coach of the Year honors from FootballScoop, along with Jason Jones.
A number of players stood out in that 2014 defense, including All-Americans Senquez Golson (CB), Cody Prewitt (FS) and Robert Nkemdiche (DT). Do-everything Mike Hilton led the team in tackles (71) while mostly playing cornerback, while Huskie safety Tony Conner earned All-SEC distinction. Marquis Haynes was a factor as a true freshman, leading the team with 7.5 sacks and 9.0 tackles for loss.
Among Wommack’s safeties, Prewitt became a two-time All-American and All-SEC pick from his free safety position, while Conner and Trae Elston were consistent playmakers, too.
As a unit, the Ole Miss defense continued its improvement in 2013, allowing four fewer points per game (23.7) than it did the previous year and ranking top 40 nationally in scoring defense, total defense and pass defense.
Under Wommack, Prewitt enjoyed one of the best seasons of any defensive back in the country. He was selected first team All-America and All-SEC after leading the league and tying for seventh nationally with six interceptions. He topped Ole Miss with 13 passes defended and was second with 71 tackles.
After ranking last in the SEC in total defense in 2011 (419.3 ypg), Ole Miss improved to seventh (375.9 ypg) in Wommack’s first year in Oxford.
Following a 38-17 BBVA Compass Bowl win over Pitt, the Rebels finished the 2012 season first in the SEC and fourth nationally in tackles for loss (7.9/game) and second in the SEC and 11th nationally in sacks (2.9/game), dramatic improvements from 2011 (4.75 TFLs and 1.08 sacks per game).
Wommack, a native of Kimberling City, Missouri, spent 15 years as a secondary coach before shifting to coach linebackers this season. The 1999, 2000 and 2011 Broyles Award nominee has coached on nine teams that won a conference championship and also participated in trips to the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs in 1989 and 1990. He boasts 19 years of experience as a defensive coordinator, also holding the position at Georgia Tech, Arkansas, Southern Miss, UNLV, Missouri State and Bemidji State.
In 2011, Wommack led an Arkansas State defense that topped the Sun Belt Conference in total defense (331.5 ypg) and scoring defense (20.8 ppg), ranking in the top 25 in the NCAA in both categories. Arkansas State also led the league and ranked eighth in the nation in tackles for loss (7.6/game) and tied for 15th in sacks (2.7/game).
He also helped coach four defensive players to first team All-Sun Belt Conference honors and three more players to second team all-conference honors, including Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year Brandon Joiner.
Before going to Arkansas State, Wommack spent the 2008 and 2009 seasons as defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, helping lead the Yellow Jackets to the 2009 ACC championship and a trip to the Orange Bowl. Georgia Tech’s defense was ranked No. 28 in the nation his first year at the school when the Yellow Jackets were ACC Coastal Division co-champions and appeared in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. He coached three defensive players that went on to play in the NFL, including defensive back Morgan Burnett, defensive end Derrick Morgan and defensive lineman Michael Johnson.
Wommack spent two different stints at Southern Miss, the last in 2007 as linebackers coach when the Golden Eagles ranked first in scoring defense and second in total defense in Conference USA and played in the PapaJohns.com Bowl. He also coached future NFL player Gerald McGrath in 2007.
His first stop in Hattiesburg covered the 1994-2000 seasons, leading a Southern Miss defense that ranked among the top eight in the nation his final two years as coordinator. While he was defensive coordinator for both the 1999 and 2000 seasons, he was also elevated to assistant head coach in 2000. The Golden Eagles ranked eighth in the nation in total defense in 1999 and won the Liberty Bowl. The 2000 squad won the GMAC Bowl while ranking second in the nation in total defense. He coached the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year both seasons, Cedric Scott in 2000 and Adalius Thomas in 1999.
He was the Golden Eagles’ defensive backs coach from 1994-98, tutoring five future NFL players that were among a secondary that consistently ranked top 20 in the nation. The Golden Eagles ranked first in the nation in turnovers gained in 1994 and fourth in 1995. The 1996 team ranked first in Conference USA in turnovers and the 1997 team ranked first in the league in scoring defense, total defense and pass defense. The 1998 squad ranked 18th in the nation in total defense and 22nd in scoring defense.
Following his initial seven years at Southern Miss, Wommack spent 2001-04 at Arkansas before joining the South Carolina staff for the 2005 and 2006 seasons. His first year with the Razorbacks, Wommack was the defensive backs coach before being elevated to defensive coordinator his final three seasons at the school. He was a part of three bowl teams at Arkansas that competed in the Cotton Bowl, Independence Bowl and Music City Bowl. The 2002 team won the SEC West.
During his time as Arkansas’ defensive coordinator, the Razorbacks led the SEC in turnovers (2002 and 2003) and ranked second in the SEC in rushing defense (2002) and third in sacks (2002) and red zone defense (2002). The 2003 squad also ranked 21st in the nation in pass defense and 36th in total defense. He coached three NFL players, including Caleb Miller, Ken Hamblin and Ahmad Carroll.
Wommack coached defensive backs and outside linebackers for two years (2005-06) at South Carolina before returning to Southern Miss for the 2007 season. During his time with the Gamecocks, Wommack helped coach a defense ranked 22nd in the nation in pass defense and seventh in pass efficiency defense. He coached several All-SEC players at South Carolina, including the conference’s top tackler among defensive backs in Ko Simpson.
Wommack coached at UNLV from 1992-93, serving as the Rebels’ defensive coordinator. During his time there, the Rebels enjoyed their first winning season in seven years and he coached six all-conference defensive players.
Prior to making the jump to NCAA Division I-A, Wommack was defensive coordinator at Missouri State from 1986-91.
Wommack earned his bachelor’s degree from Missouri Southern State College in 1978 before going on to earn his master’s degree from the University of Arkansas. Dave and his wife, Leslie, have two children, son Kane and daughter Hayley, and two grandchildren. Kane is the defensive coordinator at South Alabama.
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