ATLANTA--John Thompson, Georgia State's assistant head coach and defensive coordinator since 2008 and one of the first coaches hired by head coach Bill Curry, has accepted the position of defensive coordinator at Arkansas State.

Thompson, who joins the staff of Guz Malzahn, is an Arkansas native and a graduate of Central Arkansas.

"I really appreciate everything that Bill Curry, [Director of Athletics] Cheryl Levick and all the people of Georgia State have done for me and my family," said Thompson. "It has been great working with Coach Curry and getting this program off the ground. I know Georgia State football is going to be successful.

"This is a tremendous opportunity to go back home and work with Gus Malzahn."

Thompson possesses 29 years of college coaching experience, including 25 seasons as a coordinator and two years as the head coach at East Carolina. Before coming to Georgia State, he worked as defensive coordinator or co-coordinator at Southeastern Conference schools Mississippi, Florida, Arkansas, South Carolina and LSU, as well as at Memphis, Southern Mississippi, Louisiana Tech and Northwestern State.

"John Thompson has been one of the most respected defensive coaches in our business for a lot of years," said Curry. "He worked tirelessly to help us build the program to this point, and we appreciate all the work he's done.

"This is too good an opportunity to pass up, especially since it's home for him," Curry continued. "It's a compliment to our program. John has had other offers prior to this one but decided to stay."