Todd Lyght

Former Irish All-American, First-Round NFL Draft Pick Todd Lyght Named Notre Dame Defensive Backs Coach

March 2, 2015

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Irish Extra: Todd Lyght

Todd Lyght, one of the most decorated players in University of Notre Dame football history, has been named defensive backs coach for the Fighting Irish.

Lyght is the only player in the 127-year history of the program who can claim the following accomplishments: starter on a collegiate national championship team (1988), unanimous All-American (1989), first-round NFL draft pick (1991), starter on a Super Bowl winning team (St. Louis Rams, 1999) and NFL All-Pro selection (1999).

Lyght, who returns to his alma mater following a brief stint as the cornerbacks coach at Vanderbilt University, spent the 2013 and 2014 seasons as a defensive back assistant coach with the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League.

Philadelphia ranked tied for sixth in the NFL with 28 takeaways in 2014, trailing Houston (34), Dallas (31), Buffalo (30), Cleveland (29) and San Francisco (29). The Eagles also registered 12 interceptions, returning a pair for touchdowns. In 2013 Philadelphia ranked tied for third in the NFL with 31 takeaways. Under Lyght’s tutelage, Eagles’ cornerback Brandon Boykin tied for second in the league with a career-best six interceptions.

Philadelphia forced 59 combined turnovers over the past two seasons, which tied for the second-highest total in the NFL in that period. The Seattle Seahawks, with 62 takeaways, were the only team with more during that span.

Lyght served as an assistant under current Eagles head coach Chip Kelly at the University of Oregon in 2011 and 2012. The Ducks captured Rose Bowl and Pacific-12 Conference championships in ’11 and a Fiesta Bowl title in ’12.

Lyght joined the Ducks coaching staff after a two-year stint (2009-10) as an assistant coach at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, working with the team’s defensive backs. He helped Bishop Gorman to back-to-back Nevada state championships in 2009 and 2010.

A three-year starting cornerback at Notre Dame (1988-90), Lyght starred as a defensive mainstay during one of the most successful stretches in Irish history. A member of Lou Holtz’s 1988 undefeated national championship team, he helped Notre Dame capture a school-record 23 consecutive victories in 1988-89.

A two-time consensus All-American for the Irish in 1989 and 1990 (one of 16 in school history), Lyght won unanimous selection as a junior in ’89. An Irish captain as a senior in ’90, Lyght recorded 161 career tackles, one forced fumble, 20.5 pass breakups and 11 interceptions–returning one for a touchdown.

Lyght’s name can be found throughout the Notre Dame record books. A finalist for the ’89 Jim Thorpe Award as the top defensive back in the nation, Lyght ranked eighth in the nation with eight interceptions that season, also tying for third on the school’s single-season chart. His 20.5 career pass breakups are sixth best in Irish history, while his 11 career picks are tied for ninth in program annals.

The Los Angeles Rams selected Lyght with the fifth overall pick in the 1991 NFL Draft. He remains the highest-drafted defensive back in school history and, to this day, only 11 defensive backs in NFL Draft history have been chosen higher than Lyght.

Lyght enjoyed a 12-year NFL career, playing for the Los Angeles-St. Louis Rams (1991-2000) franchise, as well as the Detroit Lions (2001-02).

Lyght spent 10 seasons with the Rams, recording 31 interceptions in 143 games played. He earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in 1999 after registering six picks during his finest season with the Rams. Lyght’s blocked field goal and stellar six-tackle defensive performance played a significant role in St. Louis’ 23-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV.

Lyght finished his NFL career with 37 interceptions, 145 pass breakups and six sacks. He ranks 27th in league history for interceptions by a cornerback.

Lyght earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Notre Dame in 1991 and, since his graduation, he has contributed to several academic scholarship programs. Lyght established the Todd W. Lyght Scholarship at the University. He also created a series of scholarships at Luke Powers Catholic School in Flint, Michigan, as well as St. Mary’s Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1995, Lyght donated substantially to the United Negro College Fund as part of the NFL’s Golden Circle program.

Born in Kwajalein, Marshall Islands, Lyght and his wife, Stefanie, have a son, Logan, and a daughter, Luca.

The Lyght File

Year School/Franchise Assignment
2015 Notre Dame Defensive Backs
2015 Vanderbilt Cornerbacks
2014 Philadelphia Eagles Assistant Defensive Backs (10-6, 2nd NFC East)
2013 Philadelphia Eagles Assistant Defensive Backs (10-6, NFC East champion)
2012 Oregon Defensive Secondary Intern (12-1, Pacific-12 North co-champion, Fiesta Bowl champion)
2011 Oregon Defensive Secondary Intern (12-2, Pacific-12 champion, Rose Bowl champion)
2010 Bishop Gorman H.S. Defensive Backs (13-2, Nevada 4A state champion)
2009 Bishop Gorman H.S. Defensive Backs (15-0, Nevada 4A state champion)