Last season Thomsen’s instruction helped seniors Christian
Westerman (Second-Team All-Pac-12) and Vi Teofilo (Honorable
Mention All-Pac-12) earn Pac-12 All-Conference recognition.
The duo was part of a unit that enabled ASU to finish in the top
third of the Pac-12 in total offense (477.5 yards per game). Both
Westerman (selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fifth round of
the NFL Draft) and Teofilo (signed by the San Diego Chargers as a
rookie free agent) would go on to earn NFL opportunities.
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.
A S S I S T A N T H E A D C O A C H
Chris Thomsen enters his fourth 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.
SUN DEVIL FOOTBALL 2016