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Where Are They Now | Chris Thurmond

Football was in Chris Thurmond’s blood since he was a kid in Sand Springs.
“I stood up in 5th grade and said I wanted to be a coach.”
And coach he has…for more than 40 years at both the high school and collegiate levels.
The Thurmond family are all Sandites through and through. Chris was honored with an induction into the Sand Springs Education Foundation (SSEF) Hall of Fame in 2015. Naming his dad Bill Thurmond as one of his biggest influences throughout life, Chris said “He was the ultimate encourager.”
Bill Thurmond was an elementary school teacher, coach and principal at Sand Springs Public Schools from around 1950 until the early 1980’s.
“Even coaching today, all the time I can hear my dad in my voice. He was always a ‘you can do it’ guy. He always made people want to do things rather than have to do things. That’s how I approach life and coaching.”
Chris graduated from the University of Tulsa with a degree in education, affected heavily by his teachers in Sand Springs. He shared with us that his 5th grade teacher Julia Martin, who he still talks with to this day, impacted him as a student, along with many other teachers in Sand Springs.
“Longtime (Sandite) wrestling coach Bob Lyons, he was a great coach, but an ever better history teacher,” Chris said.
“He made me want to be a history teacher and high school coach. That’s the way I started out.”
And as far as the rest of his educators in Sand Springs….
“Every one of my teachers, I can remember them all by name. They were all phenomenal. I never remember having a bad one.”
Chris Thurmond coached at Charles Page High School for a number of years as a defensive backs coach, and as a head coach in 1982. He also coached at the University of Tulsa for more than 8 years, serving as the cornerbacks and defensive backs coach from early 80’s to early 90’s.
Sprinkled in his 40-year tenure, he saw coaching bouts on the defensive side of the ball at major universities like the University of Oklahoma, TCU, Alabama, Texas A&M, University of Houston, Kentucky, Rice, and East Carolina. He helped take teams to 15 bowl games, including a stint as the Interim Head Coach for the University of Houston during the 2007 Texas Bowl. Currently, Chris is an analyst for Oklahoma State Football under coach Mike Gundy, and tells us Gundy is one of the best coaches, and friends, he has ever worked for.
“The best thing about Gundy is the culture,” Chris said.
“Because of him OSU is second to none. Mike is unbelievably well-read, intelligent, thinks outside the box, and makes everyone want to be better.”
Chris credits his successes and lifelong passion for coaching and education to the great members of the Sand Springs community.
“If everybody in Sand Springs would take the attitude that the Sand Springs Education Association and Foundation has, people will realize that without education, we can accomplish very little.”


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