Tyson Summers is in his second year on the Colorado staff as the defensive coordinator, as he joined the Buffalo staff under then-head coach Mel Tucker on Dec. 11, 2018. He was one of four coaches retained by new head coach Karl Dorrell and will remain coordinating the defense in addition to coaching the inside linebackers. He coached the safeties for the 2019 season.
He came to Colorado from the University of Georgia, where he spent a year-and-a-half as a defensive analyst for quality control. While in Athens, the Bulldogs won two Southeastern Conference East Division titles, the 2017 SEC championship and the College Football Playoff semifinal to earn the opportunity to play for the national championship.
Summers, 40, returned to the Centennial State where he spent the 2015 season in Fort Collins at Colorado State, also as the Rams defensive coordinator and safeties coach under its first-year coach and former Bulldog, Mike Bobo. The CSU defense made remarkable strides defensively that season under his tutelage, improving 30 spots or more in several categories from the previous year, including 85th to 55th in total defense, 32nd to ninth in passing defense and 114th to 21st in tackles for loss.
He had three players he coached selected in the 2020 NFL Draft: CU safety Davion Taylor (Philadelphia, third round); and Georgia Southern cornerback Kindle Vildor (Chicago, fifth round) and placekicker Tyler Bass (Miami, sixth round). And a fourth, Georgia safety J.R. Reed, signed as a free agent with Jacksonville.
He left CSU after just that one season to become the head coach at Georgia Southern, a program entering its third year in the Football Bowl Subdivision and the Sun Belt Conference. Summers would spend almost two years in the role, guiding GSU to five victories, but oversee the program show significant improvement in the classroom with a program-high NCAA APR score. Seven of his players in his first season earned All-Sun Belt honors, and placekicker Younghoe Koo was a finalist for the Lou Groza Award (now with the Atlanta Falcons). He also showed his prowess on the recruiting trail as the Eagles boasted one of highest-ranked classes in the Sun Belt as ranked by 247Sports.
Prior to be hired at Colorado State, Summers spent three years on the Central Florida staff under coach legendary coach George O’Leary, with the Knights posting a 31-9 record during his time there. He coached the UCF linebackers his first two seasons (2012-13), and for the Fiesta Bowl and the spring of 2014 he was made the interim defensive coordinator; he would be named to the full-time role ahead of the season. In his first year coordinating a defense, Summers saw his Knights emerge as the top defense in the American Athletic Conference and one that ranked in the top 10 among FBS schools in total defense (fifth, 298.5 yards per game), rushing defense (sixth, 104.3), scoring defense (ninth, 19.2) and red zone defense (sixth, 71.4 percent); in addition, UCF was 11th in pass efficiency defense (107.8 rating).
That season, UCF opened the season with a 26-24 loss to Penn State … in Dublin, Ireland … and rebounded from an 0-2 start to finish 9-4. The Knights would hold nine opponents under 200 passing yards and six under 100 yards rushing, as well as under 300 yards total offense on six occasions (twice under 200). Three of his players earned first-team All-AAC honors, including cornerback Jacoby Glenn, the conference’s co-defensive player of the year and first AP All-American (second-team) since it joined the AAC in 1996. One of his linebackers, Terrance Plummer, earned back-to-back All-AAC honors; safety Clayton Geathers was a fourth-round pick by Indianapolis in the 2015 NFL Draft, and another defensive back, Brandon Alexander is playing for Winnipeg in the Canadian Football League.
He moved to UCF from the University of Alabama-Birmingham, where he worked for five seasons (2007-11). He coached the linebackers his first four years there, switching over to tutor the safeties in his final year there, when he also took on additional duties as the co-special teams coordinator.
In 2006, he had his first stint at Georgia Southern, coaching the safeties. That had followed two years as a graduate assistant, in 2004 at Troy University and in 2005 at the University of Georgia, where he was a member of the Bulldog staff that won the Southeastern Conference championship.
Summers lettered four years (1998-2001) at linebacker at Presbyterian College, where he earned All-South Atlantic Conference honors as a sophomore and was a team captain as a senior. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2002; after coaching the defensive backs at his high school alma mater that fall, his first full-time position was at Presbyterian in 2003, also working with the secondary.
He was born April 11, 1980 in Tifton, Ga., and graduated from Tift County High School where he lettered in football and baseball. His father (Andy) was a running back at the University of Florida in the early 1970s. He is married to the former Beth King, and the couple has three sons, Jake (10), Walker (8) and Anderson (5).