Chris Thomsen was named Florida State’s deputy head coach and tight ends coach on Dec. 19, 2019.
He has coached 116 different all-conference players who have combined for 184 all-conference recognitions as well as 25 individual All-Americans who have earned 38 All-American certificates, including 13 first-team selections.
In his first year at Florida State, Thomsen developed a versatile tight end group led by Camren McDonald. The junior started all nine games and made 23 catches for 263 yards and two touchdowns, including his first career score at No. 12 Miami and a score that proved to be the winning points in FSU’s 31-28 victory over No. 5 North Carolina. Additionally, freshman walk-on Preston Daniel had a 36-yard catch in the win over the Tar Heels and sophomore Wyatt Rector scored a rushing touchdown against Pitt after the former quarterback took a snap under center and scored from the one-yard line.
The tight end group also helped blocked for a vastly improved rushing attack in 2020. The Seminoles averaged 199.9 rushing yards per game, the program’s highest since 2016 and 20th nationally among teams that played at least nine games in 2020, and 5.11 yards per rush, 16th in the nation among teams with at least 350 carries and FSU’s most in a season since 2015. Florida State topped 400 yards of total offense in five of the last seven games, including more than 500 yards of total offense twice, and produced FSU’s first game with at least 250 yards rushing and passing since 2016.
Thomsen came to Tallahassee following three years coaching the offensive line at TCU, his alma mater. He was the head coach at Abilene Christian from 2005-11 and also brought experience as an assistant at Arizona State, Texas Tech and Central Arkansas.
During his three years at TCU, Thomsen directed one of the top offensive lines in the country and coached five all-conference performers. The Horned Frogs led the Big 12 in fewest sacks allowed in each of his first two seasons, averaging 1.23 sacks allowed per game in 2018 and 1.29 in 2017 to rank 14th and 19th, respectively, in the country. The 2019 line paved the way for the Horned Frogs to average 204.0 rushing yards per game.
Thomsen made an immediate impact in the 2017 season as the Horned Frogs played in the Big 12 Championship Game and won 11 games behind an offensive line that placed all four seniors into the NFL. Joseph Noteboom was drafted in the third round by the Los Angeles Rams, while Matt Pryor was a sixth-round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles. Additionally, Patrick Morris and Austin Schlottmann signed free-agent contracts and are both on the Denver Broncos active roster.
Thomsen mentored Lucas Niang, a 2020 third-round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs, to All-Big 12 honors in 2018 after the junior started all 13 games and did not allow a sack the entire season. Niang was a preseason All-Big 12 selection and had started 27 career games at right tackle before undergoing season-ending surgery in October of 2019. The 2019 season featured an offensive line blocking for the sixth-best red zone offense in the country, led by senior guard Cordel Iwuagwu returning from an injury that cost him most of 2018 to earn All-Big 12 accolades. Iwuagwu and linemate Anthony McKinney were signed by the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans, respectively.
Thomsen was the assistant head coach and offensive line coach at Arizona State from 2013-16, spending the first three years with Sun Devils’ offensive coordinator Mike Norvell and helping lead ASU to the 2013 Pac-12 Championship Game. Their 2014 offense gained 5,750 yards, 3,556 of those through the air, and ranked 13th in the nation with 34 touchdown passes. The 2013 team’s average of 39.7 points per game ranked 10th nationally.
Thomsen coached five different Sun Devil linemen to All-Pac 12 recognition. Three of his linemen were drafted as Jamil Douglas was a fourth-round pick by the Miami Dolphins in 2015, Christian Westerman went to the Cincinnati Bengals in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft and Sam Jones was a sixth-round selection by the Denver Broncos in 2018. Additionally, Quinn Bailey was a rookie with the Broncos in 2019 and Cohl Cabral was a 2020 signee by the Los Angeles Rams.
Prior to his time in Tempe, Thomsen spent the 2012 campaign as the offensive line coach at Texas Tech. That year, Texas Tech led the Big 12 and ranked second nationally in passing with an average of 355.9 yards per game. He was named interim head coach for the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas and led the Red Raiders to a 34-31 win over Minnesota. He coached Indianapolis Colts third-round pick Le’Raven Clark and free-agent signee LaAdrian Waddle who started as a rookie in 2013 for the Detroit Lions and played seven seasons in the NFL.
During Thomsen’s time as the head coach at Abilene Christian, he led the Wildcats to a 51-21 record and six straight trips to the Division II playoffs with the 2008 team advancing to the quarterfinal round. He was a four-time Lone Star Conference Coach of the Year, receiving the honor in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010. ACU won Lone Star Conference championships in 2008 and 2010, winning 11 games both seasons. Prior to his arrival, the Wildcats had never played in the Division II playoffs and had not won a conference championship since 1977.
In the second round of the 2008 playoffs, Thomsen led ACU to a win in the highest-scoring game in NCAA history. His team defeated West Texas A&M 93-68 as the teams combined to break 45 Division II records. That year, the Wildcats led the NCAA with 558.8 yards per game and 52.3 points per game. In 2007, Abilene Christian ranked first in Division II with an average of 49.2 points per game and second with 544.8 yards per game.
Thomsen had five draft picks at Abilene Christian. Danieal Manning was picked in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, the first non-Division I player taken in 2006 and the highest ACU pick since 1977. Johnny Knox was a fifth-round selection by Chicago in 2009 and Bernard Scott, who earned the Harlon Hill Trophy as Division II’s MVP in 2008, was taken in 2009’s sixth round by the Cincinnati Bengals. Clyde Gates was a fourth-round pick by the Miami Dolphins in 2011, and Daryl Richardson was taken in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams in 2012. He also helped develop wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, who had more than 2,000 career receiving yards in six NFL seasons, and running back Charcandrick West, who played five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Before becoming the head coach at Abilene Christian, Thomsen served as Central Arkansas’ offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator in 2003 and 2004. He began his coaching career in 1994 as a graduate assistant at Abilene Christian, 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. After spending one season away from football, he got back into coaching as the offensive coordinator at Wichita Falls High School in 2001 and 2002.
Thomsen played football and baseball at TCU, lettering for the Horned Frogs on the gridiron from 1988-90 and on the diamond in 1991. During his lone season with the baseball team, he earned All-Southwest Conference, All-America and TCU Male Athlete of the Year honors after nearly hitting for the triple crown. He led the SWC with 21 home runs and 70 RBI, while his .373 batting average was second in the conference. Thomsen was selected in the 17th round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Oakland Athletics and played two seasons in Oakland’s minor league system.
After retiring from baseball, he returned to play one season on the football team at Abilene Christian. He was a second-team All-American and first-team All-Lone Star Conference tight end for the Wildcats in 1993.
Thomsen earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from TCU in 1993 and completed a master’s degree in secondary education from Abilene Christian in 2000.
|2020-||Florida State||Deputy Head Coach/Tight Ends|
|2013-16||Arizona State||Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line|
|2012||Texas Tech||Offensive Line|
|2005-11||Abilene Christian||Head Coach|
|2003-04||Central Arkansas||Offensive Line/Recruiting Coordinator|
|2001-02||Wichita Falls High School (Texas)||Offensive Coordinator|
|1998-99||Abilene Christian||Offensive Coordinator|
|1997||Abilene Christian||Defensive Line|
|1995-96||Abilene Christian||Offensive Line|
|1994||Abilene Christian||Graduate Assistant|