Chris Tormey

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Chris Tormey
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1955-05-01) May 1, 1955 (age 60)
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
Alma mater University of Idaho, B.S. 1978
Playing career
1973–1977 Idaho
Position(s) Defensive end
Outside linebacker
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Gonzaga Prep (H.S., assistant)
Washington (GA)
Idaho (assistant)
Washington (assistant)
Washington (assistant)
Hawaii (assistant)
Washington State (assistant)
Wyoming (assistant)
South Whidbey H.S.)
Montreal Alouettes (linebackers coach)
Head coaching record
Overall 49–54 (.476)
Bowls 1–0
Accomplishments and honors
Big West Coach of the Year (1998)
All-Big Sky (1976, 1977)

Chris Tormey (born May 1, 1955) is an American football coach. Formerly the head coach at Idaho and Nevada, he was most recently an assistant at Wyoming, serving as both the defensive coordinator and secondary coach. Tormey was an assistant coach for 16 seasons at Washington, (1984–94 & 2004–08); he also spent two seasons as a UW graduate assistant (1980–81). He returned to the high school level in 2014 as the head coach at South Whidbey in Langley, Washington.[1][2] He is currently linebackers coach for the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League.[3]

Early years[edit]

Born in Omaha, Tormey grew up in Spokane and played high school football at Gonzaga Prep under longtime head coach Bill Frazier (1908-2000).[4][5] After graduation in 1973, he played college football at the University of Idaho in Moscow. Tormey had a standout sophomore season in 1974[6] for the Vandals under first-year head coach Ed Troxel, but incurred a knee injury in final game of the season which required surgery. He redshirted in 1975 and returned in 1976 and was named the team's outstanding defensive player.[7][8] Tormey was all-conference (Big Sky) in 1976 at defensive end and at outside linebacker in 1977.[9] Idaho changed from a five-man defensive line (5-2 defense) to a 4-3 after the 1976 season.[10] Tormey completed his bachelor's degree in education in 1978.

Assistant coach[edit]

Tormey had a brief stop with the Washington Redskins of the NFL in 1978, then began his coaching career as a high school assistant back at Gonzaga Prep, where he also taught geography. In 1980 his collegiate coaching career began as a graduate assistant at Washington in Seattle, a position he left in 1982 to coach the defensive line at his alma mater, serving under newly hired Idaho Vandals' head coach Dennis Erickson.

After two years on the Palouse, Tormey returned to the Huskies in Seattle, where he would remain for 11 seasons, 198494, coaching tight ends, linebackers, and the secondary for Don James and Jim Lambright. UW shared the national championship (with Miami) in 1991. For the 1994 season Tormey was named acting defensive coordinator.

Head Coach[edit]


Following the 1994 season, John L. Smith left Idaho and Tormey returned to Moscow to succeed him as head coach. Tormey's first season in 1995 was the Vandals' last in the Big Sky and Division I-AA; Idaho joined the Big West in Division I-A in 1996. His starting salary in 1995 was $71,868.[11]

In his five seasons at the helm in Moscow, Tormey compiled a 33–23 record (.589), including the Vandals' first-ever bowl appearance in 1998 in the Humanitarian Bowl, a 42–35 victory over 16-point favorite Southern Mississippi.[12][13][14][15] The Vandals earned the bowl berth by winning the Big West title with a dramatic one-point overtime win over rival Boise State, on the road in Bronco Stadium in Boise.[16] (Although this was Idaho's 15th win in the last 17 games in this rivalry, the 1998 win remains their most recent over BSU.) The bowl victory propelled Idaho to an impressive 9–3 record in 1998, their third season back in Division I-A, and Tormey was named Coach of the Year in the Big West. Before the season, the Sporting News had Idaho ranked last of 112 teams in Division I-A.[17] Tormey interviewed in early January for the open position at Washington in Seattle,[18] which went to Rick Neuheisel. He also interviewed at Oregon State,[19] which hired Dennis Erickson to replace Mike Riley.

The Vandals went 7–4 in 1999, including a 28–17 win over neighboring Washington State, eight miles (13 km) to the west.[20] It was Idaho's first football victory over the Cougars since 1965 in the Battle of the Palouse.[21]


Following the 1999 season, Tormey moved south to Reno to coach the Nevada Wolf Pack, which was leaving the Big West to join the WAC.[22][23] Tormey was the head coach for four seasons (2000-03), compiling a 16–31 record (.340).[24] He succeeded Jeff Tisdel, a former All-American quarterback for the Wolf Pack. While Tormey's win totals improved each season (2,3,5,6), he was released from the fifth and final season of his contract at the end of the 2003 season, the final game marked by a 56–3 blowout loss at Boise State. Most notably, Tormey failed to defeat bitter in-state rival UNLV in the annual Battle for the Fremont Cannon, but his Nevada team did defeat the Washington Huskies 28–17 in Seattle that final season. Nevada's athletic director Chris Ault hired himself to succeed Tormey, his third stint as head coach of the Wolf Pack.

Assistant coach[edit]

Back to Washington[edit]

Tormey was quickly rehired at Washington in 2004 as a defensive assistant under head coach Keith Gilbertson, and stayed on with the new coach Tyrone Willingham, becoming the recruiting coordinator.


Following the dismissal of Willingham after Washington's winless 2008 season, Tormey joined head coach Greg McMackin at Hawai'i as an assistant coach for two seasons.[25] McMackin was the defensive coordinator at Idaho during Tormey's senior season in 1977.

Washington State[edit]

Tormey returned to the mainland and the Palouse in 2011 to join the Washington State staff as the linebackers coach under fourth-year head coach Paul Wulff.[26] The coaching staff was relieved of its duties following the season and Mike Leach was hired as head coach for 2012.


In late December 2011, Tormey joined the staff of head coach Dave Christensen at Wyoming for 2012 as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach.[27] Christensen played at Washington in the early 1980s when Tormey was a graduate assistant. On October 29, 2013, Christensen fired Tormey after two straight losses in which the Cowboys surrendered more than 50 points a game.[28] Christensen was fired as head coach a month later.[29]

High school coach[edit]

In May 2014, Tormey returned to western Washington as the head coach at South Whidbey High School in Langley on Whidbey Island.[2] The Falcons compete in Class 1A, with about 500 students in four grades.[1]

Assistant coach[edit]

On January 28, 2015, the Montreal Alouettes announced they hired Tormey to fill their coaching staff as linebackers coach, offering him his first position in professional football as a coach, in the Canadian Football League. He was recruited in Idaho by Don Matthews, former Montreal Alouettes head coach, who was hired in 2014 by this team as a consultant. He is replacing Greg Quick who was hired by the Saskatchewan Roughriders as their defensive coordinator.

Head coaching record[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Idaho Vandals (Big Sky) (1995)
1995 Idaho 6–5 4–3 T-2nd L NCAA Division I-AA First Round
Idaho Vandals (Big West) (1996–1999)
1996 Idaho 6–5 3–2 T-3rd
1997 Idaho 5–6 2–3 T-4th
1998 Idaho 9–3 5–1 1st W Humanitarian
1999 Idaho 7–4 4–2 2nd
Idaho: 32–23 18–11
Nevada Wolf Pack (WAC) (2000–2003)
2000 Nevada 2–10 1–7 9th
2001 Nevada 3–8 3–5 T-7th
2002 Nevada 5–7 4–4 T-4th
2003 Nevada 6–6 4–4 6th
Nevada: 16–31 12–20
Total: 49–54
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title


  1. ^ a b "Chris Tormey, longtime Husky assistant, to coach at South Whidbey". Seattle Times. May 9, 2014. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Watanabe, Ben (May 10, 2014). "Ex-college coach takes over Falcon football". South Whidbey Record. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  3. ^ The Sports Network (January 29, 2015) Former star QB Calvillo named Alouettes receivers coach
  4. ^ Derrick, Merle (November 30, 1972). "Zag coach Bill Frazier will retire". Spokane Daily Chronicle. p. 25. 
  5. ^ Price, Jim (April 8, 2000). "Prep sports loses one of its legends". Spokesman-Review. p. C1. 
  6. ^ "Sky honors Idaho soph". Spokane Daily Chronicle. UPI. November 6, 1974. p. 12. 
  7. ^ "Yarno, Tormey honored". Lewiston Morning Tribune. December 2, 1976. p. 4B. 
  8. ^ "Idaho captain Tormey overcomes injuries". Spokane Daily Chronicle. September 14, 1977. p. 48. 
  9. ^ "Boosters honor Tormey". Spokesman-Review. January 31, 1978. p. 14. 
  10. ^ "Troxel claims defense key at Idaho". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Associated Press. September 7, 1977. p. 42. 
  11. ^ "Board approves Tormey contract". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. March 23, 1995. p. 1D. 
  12. ^ Meehan, Jim (December 30, 1998). "Idaho looks for huge upset". Spokesman-Review. p. C1. 
  13. ^ Blanchette, John (December 31, 1998). "Destiny smiles on Idaho". Spokesman-Review. p. C1. 
  14. ^ Pond, Alex (December 31, 1998). "Vandals win! Vandals win!". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. p. 1A. 
  15. ^ College Football Data - Chris Tormey - head coaching record - accessed 2009-10-09
  16. ^ Pond, Alex (November 23, 1998). "The call to glory". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. p. 1C. 
  17. ^ Pond, Alex (December 31, 1998). "Vandals victorious: from chumps to champs". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. p. 1C. 
  18. ^ Meehan, Jim (January 5, 1999). "Tormey interviews at UW". Spokesman-Review. p. C5. 
  19. ^ Pond, Alex (January 23, 1999). "Just happy to be here". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. p. 1D. 
  20. ^ Blanchette, John (September 19, 1999). "Down for the long count". Spokesman-Review. p. C1. 
  21. ^ Pond, Alex (September 20, 1999). "Vandals rule the Palouse". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. p. 1B. 
  22. ^ Meehan, Jim (December 9, 1999). "Tormey accepts Nevada head coach job". Spokesman-Review. p. C1. 
  23. ^ Pond, Alex (December 9, 1999). "Idaho players understand coach's decision". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. 
  24. ^ Meehan, Jim (December 1, 2003). "Nevada fires coach Tormey". Spokesman-Review. p. C3. 
  25. ^ "Chris Tormey". University of Hawaii Athletics. 2009 football coaching staff. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Tormey back in Palouse at WSU". Seattle Times. (Spokesman-Review). January 21, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Football: Chris Tormey joins Wyoming football coaching staff". University of Wyoming Athletics. December 28, 2011. Retrieved March 26, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Wyoming fires Chris Tormey". ESPN. Associated Press. October 29, 2013. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  29. ^ Vorel, Mike (December 1, 2013). "Wyoming fires head football coach Dave Christensen". Casper (WY) Star-Tribune. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 

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