Defensive Coordinator
Alma Mater: East Carolina
Graduating Year: 1997
Experience: 1st Year


David Blackwell is in his first season as defensive coordinator at Old Dominion. He also coaches the inside linebackers.

Blackwell comes to ODU after a one-year stint as the defensive coordinator at East Carolina, where he helped defensive end Nate Harvey, a former walk-on, earn AAC Player of the Year honors. Under his leadership, the defense gave up eight less points per game in 2018 than the year before, 75 yards fewer on the ground and more than 100 fewer yards per game. The Pirates finished led the AAC in tackles for loss and finished third in FBS, while ranking third in the AAC in sacks and third down defense. The ECU defense ranked tied for ninth with 4.92 three and outs per game. The Pirates had three and outs 35 percent of the time.

Prior to spending the 2018 season at ECU, Blackwell was the defensive coordinator at Jacksonville State for four years. Blackwell helped JSU win four-straight Ohio Valley Conference Championships and led one of the top defenses in the FCS. Jacksonville State collectively ranked first nationally at the FCS level in defensive completion percentage (50.2), second in pass efficiency defense (105.5) and rushing yards allowed per carry (3.0), third in total defense (284.1 ypg) and yards per pass attempt (5.93), sixth in rushing defense (104.4 ypg), eighth in scoring defense (18.8 ppg) and ninth in sacks (133) during a time frame covering 51 total games.

In 2015, Blackwell helped Jacksonville State to a 13-2 record and berth in the FCS Championship Game.

He was a finalist for FCS Defensive Coordinator of the Year honors in both 2015 and 2016.

Blackwell served the previous two years as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Fordham where he molded the Rams into one of the top takeaway producers in the country with an FCS-leading 40 turnovers gained in 2013. He and linebacker Stephen Hodge, who was selected Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, helped Fordham to a 12-2 record and playoff appearance.

During his first year with the Rams in 2012, he played a pivotal role in the nation's second-biggest turnaround with a 6-5 ledger that followed a 1-10 mark a year before his arrival.

As co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at then-Big East member USF in 2009, Blackwell directed a group which ranked 24th at the FBS level in total defense and tied for 19th in scoring defense on the way to an 8-5 record and an International Bowl victory.

Prior to his brief stay in Tampa, Blackwell was an assistant at Clemson for six years where he was in charge of the linebackers and played a key role leading a resurgence in the Tigers’ defense. Clemson was bowl eligible on five occasions during his tenure with appearances in the 2008 Gator Bowl, 2007 Chick-fil-A Bowl, 2006 Music City Bowl, 2005 Champs Sports Bowl and the 2004 Peach Bowl as the Tigers were ranked in the Top 25 in both polls in three of those seasons.

Clemson also stood among the Top 25 in the four major defensive categories each of his last four years, a first in program history.

He also directed Clemson's recruiting efforts during his first three years. Both his 2005 and 2006 classes were ranked in the Top 20 by nearly every service, while the latter edition had the most Parade and USA Today All-America selections for the Tiger program in 16 years.

The Greenville, S.C. native was the linebackers coach at Pittsburgh for three seasons from 2000 to 2002 and helped the Panthers to a trio of bowl games during that period (2000 and 2002 Insight.com, 2001 Tangerine). One of his prized pupils was All-America performer Gerald Hayes, who turned in three-straight 100-tackle campaigns and was a three-time all-conference honoree.

From 1996 to 1999, Blackwell served as assistant coach at Illinois State where he played a major role in one of the top turnarounds in Division I-AA during that period. In his final year with the Redbirds, ISU compiled a school-best 11-3 record and advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Division I-AA Playoffs before losing to eventual national champion Georgia Southern.

Blackwell earned a bachelor's degree in exercise science from East Carolina in 1997.

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