March 19, 2013
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Chris Thomsen, who spent the 2012 season as the offensive line coach at Texas Tech and who was named as Arizona State University's running backs coach on January 11, 2013 by Head Coach Todd Graham, will move over to coach the offensive line, Graham announced Tuesday. Additionally, Bo Graham, who has been on the staff as the On-Campus recruiting Coordinator since inception, will become the Running Backs Coach.
"I am pleased to announce the move of Chris Thomsen from running backs coach to offensive line coach," says Graham. "Chris is one of the top offensive line coaches in the nation and that is his specialty. I am very happy to have Chris back at ASU and in charge of our offensive front. Chris is an outstanding recruiter as well. "Bo is a young, up-and-coming coach who has been around the great game of football his entire life," says Graham. "He coached a career 3,000-yard rusher at Tulsa and he connects very well with today's players. He is an excellent recruiter and we will take advantage of that by having him on the road in recruiting."
Thomsen was previously hired by coach Graham in December 2011 as an assistant coach, but Thomsen left ASU the following February to become the offensive line coach at Texas Tech. He took over as the Red Raiders' interim head coach two days after Tommy Tuberville resigned to take the head coaching job at Cincinnati and led Texas Tech to a 34-31 win over Minnesota in the 2012 Meineke Car Care Bowl. Thomsen coached left tackle LaAdrian Waddle to first-team All-Big 12 Conference accolades and the squad yielded the fewest quarterback sacks per game and also averaged the most yards per carry on offense since 2008.
Prior to his first stint at ASU, Thomsen spent the previous seven seasons as head coach of the Division II Abilene Christian Wildcats, From a 4-6 debut in 2005, Thomsen led the Wildcats to a 47-15 record over the final six seasons and six straight trips to the NCAA Division II playoffs. His final record at ACU over seven seasons was 51-21.
Thomsen turned the ACU program into a perennial contender under his watch, winning the Lone Star Conference South Division Coach of the Year award four times. He led the Wildcats to an undefeated regular season in 2010 and twice won 11 games. ACU, in fact, is one of just four programs in the country to have reached the NCAA Division II playoffs in each of the last six seasons, joining Northwest Missouri State, North Alabama and Albany State (Ga.) in that elite category.
Before Thomsen's arrival in 2005, ACU hadn't won a Lone Star Conference championship since 1977 and hadn't won an outright championship since 1973, but Thomsen led ACU to undisputed league crowns in 2008 and 2010, posting perfect regular seasons in both years. For his efforts, Thomsen was voted the LSC South Division Coach of the Year four times in his seven seasons in the league. Known for his high-powered offenses at ACU, Thomsen's tenure is perhaps most famous for the 2008 NCAA Division II playoff game against rival West Texas A&M, when the two teams combined to break 45 NCAA Division II records in a 93-68 Abilene Christian victory. That season, ACU led the NCAA in yards per game (558.8) and points per game (52.3) and scored at least 40 points 11 times and at least 36 points in all 13 contests
In 2007, ACU had one of the nation's most prolific offenses, ranking first in NCAA Division II football in scoring (49.2 ppg), second in total offense (544.8 ypg) and sixth in passing offense (314.0 ypg). The Wildcats also led the nation in fewest sacks allowed (eight in 13 games).
While at ACU, the two-time AFCA Region IV Coach of the Year coached five NFL draft choices (Danieal Manning, 42nd pick, second round by the Chicago Bears in 2006; Johnny Knox, fifth-round pick by the Bears in 2009; Bernard Scott, sixth-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009; Clyde Gates, fourth-round pick by the Miami Dolphins in 2011 and Daryl Richardson, seventh-round pick by the St. Louis Rams in 2012); an NFL Pro Bowl selection (Knox in 2009), a Harlon Hill Award winner (Scott in 2008), the award that is the NCAA Division II equivalent of the Heisman Trophy; and a Gene Upshaw Award winner (Sam Collins in 2008), signifying the top lineman in NCAA Division II football.
Before becoming the head coach at Abilene Christian, Thomsen served two seasons as offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator for the University of Central Arkansas. He began his coaching career in 1994 as a graduate assistant at ACU before spending two seasons as the offensive line coach and one as the defensive line coach. He was named the Wildcats' offensive coordinator in 1998, spending two seasons in that position. After spending one season away from football, he got back into coaching in 2001, spending two years at offensive coordinator at Wichita Falls High School before joining Central Arkansas.
Thomsen played football three seasons (1988-90) and baseball one season (All-America and All-Southwest Conference with 21 home runs and a .373 batting average) at TCU before being selected in the 17th round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by the Oakland Athletics. He was TCU's Male Athlete of the Year in 1991. Thomsen went on to play for two seasons in Oakland's minor league system. After retiring from baseball, he returned to the college gridiron, playing one season at ACU. He was a First Team All-Lone Star Conference tight end for the Wildcats, earning Second Team All-American honors. He earned a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from TCU in December 1993 and received his master's in secondary education from ACU in 2000. Bo Graham was ASU's On-Campus Recruiting Coordinator for the past year. Prior, Graham was at the University of Pittsburgh, serving as the head graduate assistant and assistant wide receivers coach. Before arriving at Pitt, Graham spent one season as the Offensive Coordinator at Tulsa Central High School. Prior to his time at TCHS, Graham was at the University of Tulsa as the running backs coach in 2007 and 2008.
Tulsa led the country in total offense during both of Graham's seasons and in 2008 Tulsa ranked fifth nationally in rushing offense. Graham guided running back Tarrion Adams into becoming the first running back in Tulsa history with over 3,000 career rushing yards and 1,000 career receiving yards. Adams also recorded two straight 1,000 yard rushing seasons, becoming Tulsa's single-game, single-season and career record holder. He also coached freshman All-American Charles Clay (sixth-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins) at Tulsa, who collected 1,000 yards receiving out of the backfield.
Graham spent the 2006 season at Rice University as coordinator of speed and skill development and as assistant strength and conditioning coach.
Graham served three seasons (2003-2005) as a student assistant coach at Tulsa, working with the secondary. In each of his three seasons as an undergrad, Tulsa's defense ranked among the Top 40 nationally in takeaways, interceptions, pass defense efficiency, pass defense and total defense.
Graham played his college football at West Virginia as a walk-on receiver in 2001. Following an injury, Graham moved to the sidelines as a student assistant coach for the Mountaineers in 2002 before transferring to Tulsa. He earned his degree in exercise sports science with a minor in marketing from Tulsa in 2006.