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JOE WALKER Third Season

Chris Thomsen, who led Division II Abilene Christian to seven of the best years in ACU football history, was named offensive line coach at Texas Tech in February 2012.

Joe Walker begins his third season as the head strength and conditioning coach for Red Raider football.

While at ACU, Thomsen helped turn the program into a national contender as he led the Wildcats to a 47-15 record during his seven seasons as head coach. He earned the Lone Star Conference South Division Coach of the Year award four times during his tenure after leading the Wildcats to the NCAA Division II playoffs six consecutive seasons. ACU is one of four schools to have reached the NCAA Division II playoffs in each of the last six seasons, joining Northwest Missouri State, North Alabama, and Albany State (Ga.) Prior to Thomsen’s arrival in 2005, ACU hadn’t won a Lone Star Conference championship since 1977 and hadn’t won an outright championship since 1973, but Thomsen led ACU to undisputed league crowns in 2008 and 2010, posting perfect regular seasons in both years.

His arrival at Auburn in 2007 was not his first stint with the Tigers as he served as a graduate assistant from May 2003 until May 2005 where he worked directly with the football program then led by Tuberville. Following his graduate assistantship at Auburn, he moved to Texas where he served as an assistant strength coach at TCU from May 2005 until January 2007. Walker also gained experience through brief stints at Kansas State and Pittsburgh. Walker earned a bachelor’s degree in recreation management/fitness option from Lockhaven University in 2002 and a master’s degree in adult education from Auburn in 2004. He and his wife Lauren have two sons, Caden and Colby.


While at ACU he’s coached four NFL draft choices (Danieal Manning, 42nd pick, second round by the Chicago Bears in 2006; Johnny Knox, fifth-round pick by the Bears in 2009; Bernard Scott, sixth-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009; Clyde Gates, fourth-round pick by the Miami Dolphins in 2011); an NFL Pro Bowl selection (Knox in 2009) a Harlon Hill Award winner (Scott in 2008), the award that is the NCAA Division II equivalent of the Heisman Trophy; and a Gene Upshaw Award winner (Sam Collins in 2008), signifying the top lineman in NCAA Division II football.

Walker joiined the Red Raiders in 2010 after spending two seasons as an assistant strength coach at Auburn, as he joined the Tiger staff in February 2007.

Thomsen’s 2010 team not only won the LSC championship outright, but also became the first team in program history to post an 11-0 regular-season record. ACU finished the season 11-1 after losing to Central Missouri in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs. The 2010 Wildcats won four games against top-25 teams, including three on the road, none bigger than a 41-34 win over rival West Texas A&M on Nov. 6 in Canyon. The Wildcats rallied from 14 points down to start the fourth quarter to beat the Buffs. The Wildcats finished the season ranked seventh in the nation in total offense, ninth in passing offense, second in scoring offense, and led the nation with just eight turnovers. Thomsen was voted the LSC South Division Coach of the Year for the fourth time in six seasons. Before becoming the Wildcats’ head coach, Thomsen had been an assistant at the University of Central Arkansas the previous two seasons where he served as the offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator for the Bears. Thomsen, who played high school football in Vernon, Texas, was a second team all-America as a senior at ACU in 1993 after leading Lone Star Conference tight ends in receiving with 34 catches for 426 yards and eight touchdowns. He helped the Wildcats finish 7-3 in 1993 on his way to earning first team all-LSC honors. He was named to the school’s all-decade team for the 1990s. Prior to transferring to ACU, Thomsen played football three seasons (1988-90) and baseball one season (all-America and all-Southwest Conference with 21 home runs and a .373 batting average) at TCU before being selected in the 17th round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by the Oakland Athletics. Thomsen went on to play for two seasons in Oakland’s minor league system. Thomsen and his wife, LeAnn, reside in Lubbock. This is a condensed bio. The full bio resides at


Profile for Texas Tech Athletics

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Get an inside look at the 2012 Texas Tech Red Raider Football Team. Team History, Player Biographies, 2011 Season Stats and All-Time Record...

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