Two assistant coaches complete the staff with the addition of Director of Football Operations.
In January of 2013, Derrick LeBlanc joined the Southern Miss football coaching staff. LeBlanc, a former offensive and defensive lineman, is in charge of the defensive line, bringing a wealth of experience with him to Hattiesburg.
In his first season with the Black and Gold, LeBlanc managed a defensive line led by Khyri Thornton, who was named Second Team All-Conference USA and selected in the third round (85th overall pick) to the Green Bay Packers in the 2014 NFL Draft. Under LeBlanc's tutelage, Thornton recorded 39 tackles, including 16 solo tackles and 23 assisted tackles. Thornton boasted 6.5 tackles for loss including a half a sack for eight yards. He was credited for a team-best four quarterback hurries. Thornton was also a finalist for the C Spire Conerly Award for the most outstanding collegiate football player in the state of Mississippi. At Southern Miss' end of the year football banquet, Thornton was named the Jeff Bower Team MVP, as well as, one of the four recipients of the Reggie Collier Team Captain Award.
On a 2013 team riddled with injuries, LeBlanc directed a unit that stayed relatively injury free. Despite a season-ending injury to Rakeem Nunez-Roches after two games, the defensive line remained intact the majority of the season. Defensive end Michael Smith was the only Golden Eagle player to play in and start every game during the 2013 season, while fellow linemen Octavius Thomas and Thornton each notched 11 starts apiece. Reserves Dasman McCallum (12 games) and Dylan Bradley (11 games) also saw significant playing time throughout the year. The three primary starters of Smith, Thomas and Thornton combined for 121 tackles, while McCallum and Bradley added 37 and 52, respectively.
LeBlanc joined the Golden Eagle staff after spending one year coaching the defensive line at the University of Wyoming for coach Dave Christensen. Though his tenure in the north was brief, LeBlanc made a lasting impact on the Cowboy program, coaching defensive tackle Mike Purcell to All-Mountain West Conference first team honors. Purcell was third on the team in tackles, a tough mark to achieve for an interior lineman, with 83 while recording eight tackles for loss. Purcell was also one of two Wyoming seniors selected to play in a postseason collegiate all-star game.
LeBlanc went to Wyoming from LSU, where he was an assistant strength and conditioning coordinator from 2008-11. Prior to working in the LSU Athletics Department, LeBlanc was the defensive line coach at Missouri State for two seasons in 2006-07.
No stranger to the southeast, LeBlanc was a four-year football letterman at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La., from 1992-96. He played both defensive and offensive line during his playing career, and earned Southland Conference All-Academic honors as both a junior and senior.
He began his coaching career in 1997 at Breaux Bridge High School in Breaux Bridge, La., where he was the offensive and defensive line coach for three seasons from 1997-99. LeBlanc broke into the college ranks in 2000 when he accepted a graduate assistant position at LSU. There he assisted then-defensive line coach Pete Jenkins in coaching the defensive line, as well as assisting the strength and conditioning staff.
After the 2000 season at LSU, LeBlanc was offered his first full-time college coaching position at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ark. He coached the defensive line and was the school's strength and conditioning coordinator for four seasons from 2001-04.
LeBlanc moved on to Arkansas Tech in Russellville, Ark., for the 2005 season, coaching the defensive line and serving as the team's academic coordinator.
He became the defensive line coach at Missouri State in Springfield, Mo., in 2006 and coached there for the 2006 and 2007 seasons under head coach Terry Allen.
In addition to serving as an assistant strength and conditioning coordinator for LSU football, LeBlanc assisted with on-campus recruiting. In his four years with the Tigers, the team captured the 2008 Chick-fil-A Bowl Championship over Georgia Tech, 38-3; faced Penn State in the Capital One Bowl following the 2009 season, losing 19-17; defeated Texas A&M, 41-24, for the Cotton Bowl Championship following the 2010 season; and in 2011 captured the SEC Championship and earned a berth in the BCS National Championship Game, before falling to Alabama.
LeBlanc earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from Northwestern State in 1997, and completed his master's degree in sports administration at LSU in 2002.
He and his wife, Niema, have two sons, Dayton and Derrick, and one daughter, Kennedy.
|LeBlanc at Glance|
|2008-11||LSU||Asst. Strength and Conditioning Coach|
|2006-07||Missouri State||Defensive Line|
|2005||Arkansas Tech||Defensive Line|
|2001-04||Henderson State||Defensive Line|
|2000||LSU||Defensive Graduate Assistant/Defensive Line|
|2011||LSU||BCS National Championship|
|2009||LSU||Capital One Bowl|