Blackwell spent four years with Jacksonville State and was a part of East Carolina's 1992 Peach Bowl champion squad. The school announced his hiring in a news release Thursday, saying Blackwell will start his new job Friday.
Blackwell's 20-year coaching career includes stops at Illinois State, Pittsburgh, Clemson, South Florida and Fordham.
Pirates coach Scottie Montgomery reassigned defensive coordinator Kenwick Thompson from his coaching duties after just two games, turning to line coach Robert Prunty to lead the defense in the interim.
The Pirates (3-9) finished last in the Bowl Subdivision in scoring defense (45 points per game) and total defense (541.7 yards).
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