Chris Thurmond, a coaching veteran with experience in the Southeastern Conference and Big 12 Conference, made an immediate impact in his first two seasons as the secondary coach at Kentucky.
Under Thurmond's guidance, cornerback Trevard Lindley earned second-team All-America honors in 2008 and set the UK career record for pass breakups. Both senior starters in the secondary, cornerback David Jones and safety Marcus McClinton, went on to sign National Football League contracts.
Despite being sidelined for much of the season by injury, Lindley repeated All-SEC honors in 2009 and was drafted by the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles. He is now among the all-time SEC leaders in pass breakups.
In the 2010 season, Thurmond will be challenged to develop replacements for Lindley and underrated safety Calvin Harrison. Safety Winston Guy and cornerback Randall Burden are returning starters.
Thurmond came to Kentucky from the University of Houston, where he coached the cornerbacks and was recruiting coordinator for 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 secondteam All-Conference USA selection and went on to play for 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 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) and Anthony Madison (Pittsburgh).
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.