Former National Football League player Dennis McKnight brings over a decade of coaching experience to his first season at Lamar University. McKnight, who is a member of Drake University's all-time team at offensive line, will handle special teams and the offensive line for the Cardinals.
McKnight spent 11 seasons in the NFL, including his first eight with the San Diego Chargers. He also played two years for the Detroit Lions and one for the Philadelphia Eagles. His best season came in 1988 when he was a Pro Bowl alternate as a member of the Chargers.
McKnight comes to Lamar after spending the 2011 season as the running backs coach of the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. Under McKnight's tutelage, Jerome Messam was named the CFL Player of the Year after rushing for over 1,000 yards.
McKnight spent three seasons at SMU under head coach June Jones. His last two years on the Hilltop were as special teams coordinator after serving the first season as offensive line coach. After not making a bowl game for 25 years, McKnight helped the Mustangs to back-to-back bowl appearances in 2009 and 2010.
McKnight's also served two separate stints on Jones' staff at the University of Hawai'i (1999-00 & 2006-07). His second tenure with the Rainbow Warriors was from 2006-07 when he served as offensive line coach and special teams coordinator. In 2007, Hawai'i finished the regular season with a 12-0 record and earned a berth in the 2008 Sugar Bowl while being led by the top ranked offense in the country. McKnight's blocking schemes helped quarterback Colt Brennan to a third place finish in the 2007 Heisman Trophy race.
In between his two stops at Hawai'i, McKnight was the tight ends coach at San Diego State from 2005-06 and the special teams coordinator and offensive line coach at Grossmont College from 2002-03.
McKnight actually broke into coaching after his college career ended, spending the 1981 season as a graduate assistant at Southeast Missouri State before his playing career in the NFL.
McKnight was an All-Missouri Valley performer as a senior at Drake University where he earned his bachelor's degree in Education in 1981. Born in Dallas, McKnight moved to Staten Island, N.Y., and graduated from Wagner High School in 1976.