Perry Thomas did something on Saturday night he had not done in 26 years.
He let someone else call his defense.
Campbellsville University’s head coach turned the reins over to Josh Dye and the Fighting Tigers posted a 26-0 shut-out at Bethel (Tenn.)
“I had been thinking about it for three years,” Thomas offered about why the switch. “When Chris Pardue was the OC (offensive coordinator), we discussed it often.
“I just wanted to make sure we were ready for it staffing wise. I feel like now we have a defensive staff in place that understands what we are doing on defense and they are committed to being here at CU and coaching football.
“I talked with coach Josh Dye in the spring about giving him more of the responsibility. During the summer I felt like the open week would be a good time to transition to it this year because I would be able to get things going for camp and through the first few games.
“I think it’s hard to coordinate at the college level with so much going on unit-wise and off the field. The head coach has to be everywhere and most of the head coaches in college and the NFL you see that calls the offense or defense, has coordinators that do most of the installs and meetings throughout the week and the head coach calls it.
“I will let coach Dye call it. The move gives me a chance to have a bigger impact on the entire team. I will have a heavy hand in the defensive, offensive and kicking-game plans and calls during the game.
“I will also be able to be more active in the units’ meetings instead of just stopping in and being a motivator.
“I hate it because I’m so accustomed to running the defense but I think coach Dye is ready for it and the overall team will be better for it.”
Campbellsville pitched its first shut-out since Thomas’ first season in 2008 when the Tigers bested the two-time defending West Division-champion Wildcats in McKenzie, Tenn.
CU went 90 yards for its first touchdown with Bryan Parnes passing for 80 yards, including the final TD pass to Demytreus Gipson.
Parnes connected with Trevon Chatman for a 13-0 cushion in the second frame before Will Ward added two field goals and Lezedric Hill an interception return to pay dirt in the fourth.
The Tiger defense, led by Daniel DeLeon (11 tackles), Beau Biller (10), Nick Reed (9) and Rashaud Hill (8), held Bethel to 223 total yards.
CU plays its first game at home on Saturday (1:30) vs. Belhaven (Miss.).