Dennis McKnight is in his third season on the Hilltop and his second as SMU's special teams coach. McKnight was SMU's offensive line coach in 2008 before taking over the special teams in the summer of 2009 following the passing of SMU assistant and coaching legend Frank Gansz. McKnight previously coached special teams while at Hawaii, and helped the Warriors have one of the top special teams units in the nation in 1999, 2000, 2006 and 2007.
McKnight arrived at SMU after serving two stints as an assistant coach at Hawaii. McKnight served as an assistant coach at UH in 2007 and worked as a graduate assistant in 2006. It was his second term with UH, having served as a full-time special teams coach and offensive line assistant during the 1999 and 2000 seasons under June Jones. He left UH after the 2000 season to return to San Diego, Calif., to attend to a business he owned. In 2001, he returned to the gridiron as an offensive line and special teams coach at St. Augustine High School. The next two seasons he served as the special teams coach at Grossmont College, and, in 2005, he was a member of the staff at San Diego State as a tight ends coach.
McKnight spent 11 seasons in the National Football League (NFL), including eight with the San Diego Chargers, two with the Detroit Lions and one with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was an alternate for the Pro Bowl in 1988 when he was a member of the San Diego Chargers.
Born in Dallas, Texas, McKnight moved to Staten Island, N.Y., where he graduated from Wagner High School in 1976. He went on to earn a bachelor's degree from Drake University in 1981.