|Position:||Assistant Head Coach (Offensive Line)|
Chris Thomsen enters his third season as assistant head coach and offensive line coach at Arizona State under head coach Todd Graham. Thomsen was named ASU's running backs coach on Jan. 11, 2013, but moved over to coach the offensive line on Mar. 19, 2013.
In 2014 Thomsen mentored First Team All-Pac-12 left guard Jamil Douglas and Second Team All-Pac-12 center Nick Kelly. The combination of Douglas and Kelly paved the way for D.J Foster to record a 1,000-yard rushing campaign and played a pivotal role in the Sun Devil offense recording a 91-percent conversion rate on red zone trips (12th in the nation) and scoring 37 points per game (16th in nation.) Douglas would go on to be drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
In his first year at ASU, Thomsen mentored 2013 First Team All-Pac-12 left tackle Evan Finkenberg and left guard Douglas (Second Team All-Pac-12), a duo that helped the Sun Devils' offense collect 320 first downs (10th in the nation), post a 90-percent conversion rate on red zone trips (13th in the nation) and score 41 points per game (ninth in the nation).
One of only two teams in the Pac-12 in 2013 to start the same five offensive linemen all season, the Devils' line helped running back Marion Grice gain 996 rushing yards and score 20 touchdowns, and quarterback Taylor Kelly pass for 3,635 yards.
Thomsen spent the 2012 season as the offensive line coach at Texas Tech. He was previously hired by 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.
While at Texas Tech, Thomsen coached left tackle LaAdrian Waddle, who started eight games as a rooke at right tackle for the Detroit Lions in 2013. Waddle earned 2012 First-Team All-Big 12 Conference accolades and Texas Tech’s offensive line 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. Between 2006-11 ACU was one of just four programs in the country to have reached the NCAA Division II playoffs, 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; 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 as 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 Texas Christian University 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.