David Blackwell, who brings 20 years of coaching experience to Fordham, begins his second year with the Rams as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
Before Fordham, Blackwell most recently served as the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at the University of South Florida in 2009 and also had stints at Clemson (2003-08), Pittsburgh (2000-02), Illinois State (1998-99) and his alma mater, East Carolina (1992-95).
In 2009, Blackwell directed a South Florida defense that ranked 24th in the country in total defense and tied for 19th in scoring defense. That Bulls squad finished the season at 8-5 and defeated Northern Illinois in the 2010 International Bowl.
Prior to his stay at South Florida, Blackwell was an assistant at Clemson for six years where he was in charge of the linebackers, helping to lead a resurgence in the Tigers' defense. Clemson was bowl eligible in all six of Blackwell's seasons on staff 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 of both polls in three of those seasons.
During Blackwell's stay at Clemson, the program earned ten wins over top-25 teams, and the Clemson defense had a lot to do with that success. In 2008, the Clemson Tigers finished tenth in pass efficiency defense in the NCAA, 12th in pass defense, 13th in scoring defense and 18th in total defense.
Clemson finished in the top 25 in the four major defensive categories each of his last four years, the first time in history Clemson had been in all four stat categories four straight years. Clemson also had a top-20 finish in scoring defense in 2003, meaning the Tigers were in the top 25 in the most important defensive category four of the five years Blackwell was on the staff.
In 2007, Blackwell's linebackers contributed to a top-10 national finish in total defense and scoring defense. Nick Watkins, one of Blackwell's inside linebackers, led the team in tackles in 2007 and was in the top 10 in the ACC.
In 2006, Clemson was 13th in the nation in total defense, 16th in scoring defense, 17th in pass efficiency defense, 18th in rushing defense and 24th in pass defense. It was quite an accomplishment for the defense considering it lost preseason All-American linebacker Anthony Waters in the first game of the year due to a torn ACL.
The play of Blackwell's linebackers had a lot to do with Clemson's strong finish in 2005. Clemson was in the top 25 in seven categories, including scoring defense (#11), tackles for loss (#13), turnover margin (#16), pass efficiency defense (#18), total defense (#20), rushing defense (#25) and sacks (#25).
The Greenville, S.C. native has significant experience at the Division I level as both a defensive coach and recruiter. He was the linebackers coach at Pittsburgh from 2000-02 and helped the Panthers to three straight bowl games during that period (2000 Insight.com, 2001 Tangerine and 2002 Insight.com).
Prior to his stop at Pittsburgh, Blackwell served as assistant coach at Illinois State from 1996-99. 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, Illinois State compiled a school-best 11-3 record and advanced to the semifinals of the Division I-AA playoffs before losing to eventual National Champion Georgia Southern.
Blackwell got his start in coaching at his alma mater (East Carolina) as rush linebackers coach from 1992 until 1995. The Pirates earned trips to the Liberty Bowl in two of those seasons.
A 1997 graduate of East Carolina with a bachelor's degree in exercise science, Blackwell was an offensive lineman as a freshman for the Pirates in 1990 before his playing career was cut short by a neck injury. He remained close to the program and started his coaching career as a student assistant on the 1992 coaching staff.
Blackwell is married to the former Melissa Androutsos, who served as the sports information director for men's basketball at Pittsburgh during the couple's time with the Panthers' athletics department. The couple has a son, D.J.