Tech has recently had two interim head football coaches. Interim or not, they are worthy men and deserve a post as Head Football Coaches at Tech. I'm not going to put a lot of effort into this post, but at least you should come away with a few facts about these two fine leaders of our beloved Raiders.
On that gloomy day December 28, 2009, Ruffin McNeill was names "interim head coach" of the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Even with the emotions of the day, Coach McNeill made the best of a very bad situation at the age of 51. In the Alamo Bowl, he led the Red Raiders to victory over the Michigan State Spartans.
McNeill played defensive back for Pat Dye for four years at East Carolina. He started three of those years and for two was a team captain for the Pirates. Following graduation, he secured his master’s degree at Clemson.
McNeill coached some 23 years at the college level as well as interned under Miami Dolphins head coach Jimmy Johnson. He began his time at Texas Tech in 2000 as a linebacker coach for Mike Leach. He was elevated to Defensive Coordinator in 2007 when Lyle Setencich stepped down. With McNeill as DC the Raiders defense steadily improved. In his first nine games under Ruffin’s guidance, Tech improved to first in pass defense and total defense and fourth in scoring defense. The Red Raiders forced more punts and allowed fewer rushing and passing yards than they did to begin the season.
With his counseling background, he was always seen as very close to his players and certainly had them in mind at all times. In January of 2010, after Tech announced its decision to hire one Tommy Tubervile, Ruffin McNeill accepted his "dream job" at his alma mater. Head Football Coach Ruffin McNeill became the leader of his beloved East Carolina Pirates.
Once upon a time there was a head football coach of a D1 team that went to the restroom during a recruiting dinner....and never came back. Most of the Raider faithful did not look very hard for him, and quickly named a coach to take his place.
If you played a game of trivia, one question most folks would miss is who was the Head Coach of Texas Tech’s Football Program before Kliff Kingsbury.
Chris Thomsen came to Texas Tech as an assistant coach under that guy that tried to take Coach Leach’s place. Sadly, he only coached one game as the "interim" head coach for Texas Tech in its last bowl game, the Meineke Car Care Bowl. He won that game and has a perfect record as a Head Coach.
Hailing from Vernon, Texas and born in 1970, Thomsen attended TCU for two years before transferring to Abilene Christian where he played Tight End. Upon graduation, he continued on as a graduate assistant and worked his way up to Assistant Head Coach in 1998.
After leaving for a brief period, he returned as Head Coach at Abilene Christian replacing west Texas legend Gary Gaines. In his first year the Wildcats went 8-3 and a birth in the DII playoffs. Of interesting note is the game in 2008 when ACU finished the season undefeated and in the second round of the playoffs (DII) they beat rival West Texas A&M 93-68. The 93 points is an NCAA playoff record.
Coach Thomsen now is the offensive line coach at Arizona State University.