Nov. 28, 2007
HOUSTON, Texas - University of Houston Director of Athletics Dave Maggard was swift in naming the interim replacement for departed head coach Art Briles on Wednesday, dubbing veteran coach Chris Thurmond as the man to guide the Cougars into and through the Texas Bowl on Dec. 28.
Briles resigned earlier in the day to accept the head coaching position at Baylor.
Thurmond, 54, has been the Cougars' recruiting coordinator and assistant coach in charge of cornerbacks for the past two seasons.
"Chris Thurmond has a lot of experience," said Maggard. "He's been around a long time. He is somebody that is respected on the staff, and by the players. Right now he is the person best to be the interim (head coach) and take us through the bowl."
This past season Thurmond mentored true freshman Loyce Means to a Conference USA All-Freshman selection. In 2006, Thurmond tutored Willie Gaston who was named to the All-Conference USA Second Team by the league's head coaches and now is a member of the NFL's Baltimore Ravens.
"The whole season is a tribute to Coach Briles and the staff," added Thurmond, "and nothing ever happens by any one individual or any one group. It was a team effort throughout the year, and it will continue to be a team effort. That's all we can do.
"Right now, I have been designated as the guy to keep the team together, and that's what we'll do."
Thurmond spent three years at Texas A&M, helping the Aggies to the 2005 Cotton Bowl.
Prior to his stint in College Station, Thurmond spent two seasons (2001-02) coaching cornerbacks at Alabama. In 2002, the Alabama defense led the SEC in total defense while finishing third nationally. That season the Crimson Tide also captured the SEC West title and played in the 2001 Independence Bowl. While at Alabama, eight players he recruited signed NFL contracts.
Thurmond also coached twice at TCU (1995 & 1998-2000) and Tulsa (1983-91 & 1994) as well as Oklahoma (1996-97) and East Carolina (1992-93). In his second stint with the Horned Frogs, Thurmond helped lead TCU to the 2000 WAC Co-Championship, with the Frogs leading the nation in scoring defense, total defense and was third in pass defense.
While at Tulsa in 1991, Thurmond's pass efficiency defense ranked eighth in the country, and the Golden Hurricane won the 1991 Freedom Bowl.
During his college coaching, Thurmond has mentored such athletes as Nate Harris (Denver Broncos), Tim Gordon (San Diego Chargers), Greg Walls (Washington Redskins), Hirchel Bolden (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Gerald Dixon (Buffalo Bills.) He has recruited or coached 16 players who have gone on to the NFL.
Thurmond spent seven years coaching in the high school ranks in Oklahoma, serving as the head coach at Charles Page High School from 1981-82, and three years as defensive backs coach. Sandwiched in between his stints at Page was one year of serving as the defensive coordinator at Claremore High School.
Thurmond began his coaching career in 1975 when he coached defensive backs at McAlester High School for two seasons.
Thurmond recruits greater Houston, North Texas, Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Oklahoma and the Mississippi junior colleges.
A native of Sand Springs, Okla., Thurmond graduated from the University of Tulsa in 1975 with a bachelor's degree in education.