LEXINGTON, Ky. – Chris Thurmond, a coaching veteran with experience in the Southeastern Conference and Big XII Conference, is the new defensive backs coach at the University of Kentucky, Coach Rich Brooks has announced.
“I’m excited to get a coach that has as much experience and success in his background as Chris has,” Brooks said. “The SEC coaching experience and performance of the defenses where he has coached made it easy for me to make this decision. He is highly recommended from people I respect.”
Thurmond comes to Kentucky from the University of Houston, where he coached the cornerbacks and was recruiting coordinator the past two seasons. He helped the Cougars advance to the 2006 Liberty Bowl and 2007 Texas Bowl, serving as interim head coach for the Texas Bowl after Art Briles left for another coaching position. In 2006, Cougar cornerback Willie Gaston was a second-team All-Conference USA selection and is now with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.
Prior to Houston, Thurmond spent three years as the cornerbacks coach at Texas A&M, highlighted by a trip to the 2005 Cotton Bowl following the 2004 campaign.
Thurmond’s experience in the Southeastern Conference came as cornerbacks coach at Alabama in 2001-02. The Crimson Tide won the 2001 Independence Bowl. In 2002, Alabama led the SEC and ranked third nationally in total defense, posting the best record in the SEC Western Division. While at Alabama, eight players he coached or recruited signed National Football League contracts.
Thurmond also has worked at Tulsa (1983-91, 1994), East Carolina (1992-93), Texas Christian (1995, 1998-2000), and Oklahoma (1996-97), coaching the cornerbacks or the entire secondary during those stints.
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 nine bowl games during his career. Ironically, his first post-season appearance came in the 1989 Independence Bowl against Rich Brooks’ Oregon squad.
During his collegiate career, Thurmond has coached or recruited numerous athletes who have gone on to the NFL, including current pros Roman Harper (New Orleans), Mark Anderson (Chicago), Charlie Peprah (Green Bay), Anthony Madison (Pittsburgh), and Willie Gaston (Baltimore).
“I’m excited about being a member of this staff,” Thurmond said. “I always had great respect for Coach Brooks and the type of football his teams have always played. I look forward to working with these players and hope to keep building on the success that Coach Brooks and the staff have created.”
A native of Sand 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 HS, before entering the collegiate ranks.
Thurmond and his wife, Paula Ann, have a daughter, Paige, who resides in Little Rock, Ark.
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