Courtesy: CMU Athletic Communications
Joe Tumpkin is entering his fourth season as Central Michigan's defensive coordinator.
In 2012, the CMU defense improved as the season progressed, particularly in the areas of pass rush and creating turnovers. Eight different Chippewas recorded interceptions in 2012, led by senior safety Jahleel Addae’s four, which tied for tops in the MAC. Defensive end Caesar Rodriguez had his finest season as a Chippewa, recording a team-high four sacks and nine tackles for loss.
Linebackers Justin Cherocci and Shamari Benton emerged in 2012, with each displaying a consistent nose for the football. The pair combined for 258 stops, which represented nearly 25 percent of the team’s total tackles. Both were among the MAC’s leading tacklers while Cherocci’s 89 assisted tackles ranked No. 1 in the nation.
The defense capped off the 2012 season with a impressive performance in CMU's win in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. His unit held a high-powered Western Kentucky offense to just 21 points.
Chippewas have earned seven All-Mid-American Conference honors during Tumpkin's first three seasons.
In 2012, Addae, who was also recognized on the Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list, received Second Team All-MAC honors. In 2011, Addae became the first CMU defensive back since 2001 to earn All-MAC First Team recognition, tying for the conference lead in interceptions (4) and ranking eighth in tackles per game (8.9) and ninth in total tackles (107).
Tumpkin's first season as the defensive coordinator at CMU was highlighted by the selection of five Chippewas to the All-Mid-American Conference team.
Tumpkin's defense forced multiple turnovers in six games in 2010, including a season-high four turnovers in a 26-22 win over rival Western Michigan.
The Chippewas recovered 14 fumbles in 12 games, tied for 11th nationally.
Prior to CMU, Tumpkin spent the 2008 and 2009 seasons coaching linebackers at Pittsburgh. He worked directly with a pair of All-Big East first team selections in Adam Gunn (2009) and Scott McKillop (2008). McKillop also was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year and a first team All-American, and he was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Tumpkin was part of a coaching staff that led the Panthers to the 2008 Sun Bowl and a 19-17 win over North Carolina in the 2009 Meineke Car Care Bowl.
Tumpkin coached the linebackers at SMU from 2005-07. In 2006, he worked directly with All-Conference USA second team linebacker Reggie Carrington.
Prior to the 2007 season, he earned a coaching fellowship with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and spent training camp working with the Buccaneers' coaching staff.
Tumpkin spent the 2002-04 seasons at Sam Houston State, coaching the linebackers during his first two seasons before moving to the secondary in 2004. He helped develop linebackers T.J. Dibble, a two-time All-Southland Conference selection, and Paul Donelson, who earned All-America honors. In 2004, the Bearkats captured a share of the Southland Conference championship, advanced to the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs and reached as high as No. 3 in the national rankings.
Tumpkin's coaching experience also includes stops at Lakeland (defensive coordinator, 2000-01), Southern Illinois (linebackers coach/recruiting coordinator, 1998-99) and Defiance (linebackers, 1996). At Southern Illinois, he worked directly with eventual NFL Pro Bowl linebacker Bart Scott.
Tumpkin also served as a graduate assistant at Western Michigan (1997), Northern Michigan (1995) and Lakeland (1994).
Tumpkin graduated from Michigan Tech in 1994 with a bachelor's degree in scientific and technical communications, where he was a four-year letterman and captain of the football team. He and his wife, Maria, have two sons: Christopher and Nikolas.