The 2019 season is Jeff Imamura’s first at Vanderbilt, serving in the role of defensive analyst for Derek Mason’s coaching staff.
Imamura brings more than a decade of NFL coaching experience to the Vanderbilt staff. He spent the 2017-18 seasons with the Carolina Panthers, serving as an assistant secondary coach in charge of cornerbacks and nickelbacks. In his first year with Carolina, the Panther secondary showed across-the-board improvement from the 2016 season. Led by James Bradberry, the 2017 Carolina defense ranked third in the NFL with a turnover differential of plus-8.
Prior to Carolina, Imamura worked two years as a defensive assistant with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams, assisting linebackers in 2016 and defensive backs in 2015. Over those two seasons, the Rams created 245 negative plays, the most in the NFL. In 2016, Imamura mentored Carolina linebacker Alec Ogletree to an All-Pro campaign. In 2015, his defensive backs aided a Panther defense that ranked sixth in the league in third-down defense and 10th in takeaways.
Previously, Imamura spent the 2006-13 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, where he assisted with the secondary for two years and linebackers for six years. During that time, the Vikings finished among the NFL’s top 10 in total defense four times, won consecutive NFC North titles in 2008 and 2009 and advanced to the NFC title game in 2009. During that time, he worked with several standout Vikings, including safety Harrison Smith, and linebackers Chad Greenway and E.J. Henderson.
Imamura spent seven seasons coaching on the college level prior to entering the NFL ranks. He had stops at Saginaw Valley (Mich.) State, which ended the 2003 regular season on top of Division II polls with a 11-0 record, Northern Arizona and TCU.
Imamura graduated from TCU, earning a bachelor’s degree in finance in 1997.