In his second season at Rice, Chris Thurmond has assumed the duties of Defensive Coordinator in addition to continuing to coach the Owls cornerbacks.
Thurmond originally joined the staff on Feb. 22, 2011, after spending the previous three seasons at Kentucky. In his first year with the Owls, Thurmond guided his younger corners through the challenge of early-than-expected playing time due to injuries to the veterans. At the end of the season, redshirt freshman Bryce Callahan had earned Freshman All America and Conference USA All Freshman honors after picking off six passes to lead the nation and defending 15 passes.
In his three seasons at Kentucky, the Wildcats advanced to bowl games each season -
Liberty Bowl (2008), Music City Bowl (2009) and the BBVA Compass
Prior to joining the Rice staff, Thurmond had student-athletes
go on to sign National Football League contracts two straight seasons.
Kentucky cornerback Trevard Lindley earned second-team All-
America honors in 2008 and established a UK career record for pass
breakups. Despite being sidelined for much of his senior season in
2009, Lindley repeated All-SEC honors in 2009 and was drafted by the
NFL's Philadelphia Eagles.
Defensive backs coached or recruited by Thurmond have been
apart of the last three Super Bowl championship teams. Both Anthony
Madison (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Roman Harper (New Orleans
Saints), who Thurmond recruited to the University of Alabama, were
members of Super Bowl XLIII and XLIV championship teams in 2009
and 2010, respectively. Thurmond also coached Green Bay Packer
Charlie Peprah, who was part of the Super Bowl XLV championship
team earlier this year.
Between stints at Alabama (2001-02) and Kentucky (2008-10),
Thurmond coached five seasons in the state of Texas. Highlighted by
a trip to the Cotton Bowl following the 2004 season, he was the cornerbacks
coach at Texas A&M from 2003-05.
He coached cornerbacks and was the recruiting coordinator for
two seasons across town at the University of Houston (2006-07). He
helped the Cougars advance to the 2006 Liberty Bowl and in 2007
was the interim head coach for UH when the team played in the Texas
Bowl after head coach Art Briles became the coach at Baylor.
While at Houston, he coached cornerback Willie Gaston who
was a second-team All-Conference USA selection and went on to play
for the Baltimore Ravens.
During his two seasons coaching the cornerbacks at Alabama,
the Crimson Tide won the 2001 Independence Bowl. The 2002 Alabama
team led the SEC and ranked third nationally in total defense,
posting the best record in the SEC Western Division. Eight Alabama
players he either coached or recruited signed National Football
Thurmond has also worked at Tulsa (1983-91, 1994), East Carolina
(1992-93), Texas Christian (1995, 1998-2000) and Oklahoma (2996-
97), coaching the cornerbacks or entire secondary unit during each of
During his second term at TCU, Thurmond helped guide the
Horned Frogs to the 2000 Western Athletic Conference co-championship.
TCU led the nation in scoring defense and total defense while
ranking third in pass efficiency defense.
While at Tulsa in 1991, the Golden Hurricane ranked among the
nation's leaders in pass defense efficiency. Tulsa capped the season
with a win in the Freedom Bowl.
Thurmond has coached in 12 bowl games during his career and
has coached or recruited numerous athletes who have gone on to
play in the NFL. In addition to Madison, Harper, Peprah and Lindley,
the list of current NFL players who were coached or recruited by Thurmond
includes Houston Texans defensive end Mark Anderson.
A native of San Springs, Okla., Thurmond graduated from the
University of Tulsa in 1975. He spent seven years as a high school
coach in Oklahoma including head coach at his alma mater, Charles
Page High School, before entering the college ranks.
Thurmond's daughter Paige lives in Little Rock, Ark.