Just two days following former Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville's quick exit and former Red Raider offensive coordinator Neal Brown's expected exit to Kentucky, becoming official on Monday, Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt has tabbed the man to lead the Red Raiders into Houston on December 28 – Chris Thomsen.
Thomsen, the first-year offensive line coach for the Red Raiders, will return to the sideline as a head coach for the first time since calling the shots at Abilene Christian for seven years and said he will use that experience to help him through, what he called an awkward situation.
"Yeah a lot of comfort level," he said. "I've had to look into these cameras a couple of times, and I'm excited and what I'm most excited about doing is getting team focused to play that's the bottom line because at the end of the day you have to eliminate all the distractions whether it's this type of situation or any other, and that's the bottom line is getting everybody focused on winning the game and I think my background will help me do that."
The Vernon, TX native's stop at ACU has not been his only as right before Tech he was at Arizona State for a brief time and other stops included Central Arkansas, offensive line coach, as well.
He led the Abilene Christian Wildcats to two Lone Star Conference titles in 2008 and then again in 2010.
In his time at ACU, Thomsen helped turn the program into somewhat of a powerhouse as he compiled a 51-21 record during his seven seasons at the helm of Abilene Christian. He also won the Lone Star Conference South Division Coach of the Year award four times and he also led the Wildcats to the Division II playoffs six consecutive seasons.
Coach Thomsen knows how much this bowl game means to the players and the fans alike, so he says they will not take this opportunity lightly and his team will be ready to play.
"Being associated with this deal for a year, and seeing everything these guys have put into it, Seth and all the other guys I mentioned, I think it's a huge statement if our fans will come out and pack that thing," he said. "I mean, there was a great crowd at Cowboys Stadium and our guys jump higher, run faster, and play harder when there are people in the stands going crazy. That is the awesome thing about Tech, the culture around this thing and the excitement about football. If people really come out and support us in Houston that will be a really huge thing for our guys, and I think our guys have earned that. That is why I am excited to lead them into this game and it will be huge if the fans are there and in full force."
Another issue that was resolved on Monday was the question, who would be calling the plays in the bowl game?
Thomsen's answer wasn't himself, but rather inside receiver coach Sonny Cumbie, who was a quarterback at Texas Tech.
Thomsen will lead the Red Raiders into Houston as they are set to square off with the Minnesota Gophers in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas on December 28th at Reliant Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. CST and will be nationally televised on ESPN.