Dylan Thompson Moves from the Gridiron to the Hardwood
Jan. 10, 2018
Former South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson (2010-2014) has moved on from the gridiron to the hardwood. Thompson is currently part of the men’s basketball staff at Charleston Southern University as the director of player development.
“I basically spend time with guys and get to know their story, their background, and what makes them who they are,” Thompson said. “In turn, that allows me to communicate with our staff to talk about how one guy can be pushed this way and maybe stay away from other things when you coach him. Everything I do is off the court. I just try to help them better navigate everything that life can throw at them. I’m having a blast.”
Thompson led the SEC in passing yards in 2014 and set the Gamecocks’ single-season record with 3,564 yards through the air that year. After graduating from South Carolina with a degree in sport and entertainment management, he spent parts of the previous three years pursuing a pro football career with the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams.
“It was a blessing to be able to play in the NFL,” Thompson said. “Looking back, I think I appreciate it more now. You go out and give it your best shot, and if you do well, you get to hang around for a few years. It taught me a lot. Just the amount of preparation you have to put in to work at your craft is amazing. Whatever I end up doing in the future, I think that lesson alone will be something I always respect.”
I think South Carolina is a special place. I still believe that.Dylan Thompson
Thompson is no stranger to giving his all, on and off the field, as the former team captain was named to the SEC Community Service team and was the Freddie Solomon Community Spirit Award winner during his time with the Gamecocks. That work ethic, along with his experience as a student-athlete, helps him in his new role.
“I think everyone can listen a little better when you hear it from someone who has been through it,” Thompson said. “Our guys are really special there. They have great hearts. I’ve loved it.
“I think the thing I’ve enjoyed the most is hearing the guys’ stories. I’m a huge fan of anyone’s story and how they got to where they are. We have some amazing ones on our team. We have some who will be the first in their family to graduate from college. They’re on a really cool trajectory for their life. To observe that and help them any way I can is what I really like.”
Basketball is actually nothing new for Thompson, who played hoops and football at Boiling Springs (SC) High School before coming to South Carolina. He admits that those basketball skills are no longer quite as sharp.
“I’m terrible,” Thompson laughed. “I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I’m not any good right now. I feel like I was decent at one point. I just have to ‘woo’ them with my words now.”
No longer slinging a football, Thompson said he does miss playing the game and the camaraderie associated with it.
“I miss football; the game,” Thompson said. “I don’t miss getting hit, obviously. Football is a special game with how big the locker room is, the celebrations, the summer workouts, and all of that stuff is just so much fun. I do miss that.
“On the field, the (2012) season that we beat Clemson and Michigan stands out. Those were obviously big wins for our program. For me, just seeing our whole class come in and grow as human beings, I think that was the part I loved the most. It’s really cool how football can bring guys together. I think South Carolina is a special place. I still believe that.”
As he moves forward in his new career, Thompson enjoys the opportunity to remain in college athletics and make a difference in the lives of others.
“I want to honor God and value people,” Thompson said. “I think that works for anything we do in life, whether you’re playing on a team, working for a company, or in role like mine right now. If I can put my head down at night and say I honor God and I value people, the result will take care of itself.”