Tavita Thompson, who spent the past three seasons as a graduate assistant coach with Nebraska, joined the Central Michigan football staff last week as the tight ends coach.
"When we opened the search process, Tavita's name just kept coming up over and over again," CMU football coach John Bonamego said. "Those good references were coming from people we really rely on, people we know and trust.
"Once Tavita got on campus, he was as advertised and better. I'm excited to bring somebody in with his experience, and I'm eager to see how he works with our offense, the university and the Mount Pleasant community."
Thompson worked with tight ends Cethan Carter and Tyler Hoppes at Nebraska. Carter just completed his rookie season as a fullback with the Cincinnati Bengals. Hoppes set a Nebraska season record for tight ends in 2017 with 34 receptions.
Thompson said he's known of Central Michigan's reputation for winning and sending players on to the NFL. He said he enjoyed the all-in, family atmosphere led by Bonamego and the coaching staff.
"I like to think of tight ends as renaissance men," Thompson said. "They have to be good at all aspects of the game, and I love that challenge. I am a competitor by nature, and it's my goal to make these student-athletes into the best future employees/employers, future fathers, future husbands, and all-around men that they can be."
Thompson was a graduate assistant on the Oregon State staff from 2012-2014, working with tight ends and the offensive line. He was a defensive line coach for Pacific University from 2011-2012.
Thompson played on the offensive line at Oregon State from 2004-2008 and was a member of four Oregon State bowl winning teams. Thompson appeared in two preseason games for the New York Jets in 2009 and spent the 2010 season in the United Football League.
Thompson graduated from Oregon State in 2008 with his degree in human development and family studies. Thompson and his wife, Lindsay, have two children, Brycen and Tausani.