American Football Database
Chris Tormey
Current position
TitleDefensive coordinator
& Secondary coach
Biographical details
Born (1955-05-01) May 1, 1955 (age 67)
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Idaho
Playing career
Position(s)Defensive end
Outside linebacker
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Washington (GA)
Idaho (assistant)
Washington (assistant)
Washington (assistant)
Hawaii (assistant)
Washington State (assistant)
Wyoming (assistant)
Head coaching record
Overall49–54 (.476)
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
1 - Big West Conference (1998)
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 is currently an assistant at Wyoming, 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).

Early years

Born in Omaha, Tormey grew up in Spokane and played high school football at Gonzaga Prep under longtime head coach Bill Frazier (1908-2000).[1][2] After graduation in 1973, he played college football at the University of Idaho in Moscow. Tormey had a standout sophomore season in 1974[3] 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.[4][5] Tormey was all-conference (Big Sky) in 1976 at defensive end and at outside linebacker in 1977.[6] Idaho changed from a five-man defensive line (5-2 defense) to a 4-3 after the 1976 season.[7] Tormey completed his bachelor's degree in education in 1978.

Assistant coach

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, 1984-94, 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


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.[8]

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 17-point favorite Southern Mississippi.[9] 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. 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.

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


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. Tormey was the head coach for four seasons (2000-03), compiling a 16-31 record (.340). 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

Back to Washington

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.[10] McMackin was the defensive coordinator at Idaho during Tormey's senior season in 1977.

Washington State

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.[11] 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.[12] Christensen played at Washington in the early 1980s when Tormey was a graduate assistant.

Head coaching record

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. Derrick, Merle (November 30, 1972). "Zag coach Bill Frazier will retire". Spokane Daily Chronicle: p. 25.
  2. Price, Jim (April 8, 2000). "Prep sports loses one of its legends". Spokesman-Review: p. C1.
  3. "Sky honors Idaho soph". Spokane Daily Chronicle. United Press International: p. 12. November 6, 1974.,1968683.
  4. "Yarno, Tormey honored". Lewiston Morning Tribune: p. 4B. December 2, 1976.,495555.
  5. "Idaho captain Tormey overcomes injuries". Spokane Daily Chronicle: p. 48. September 14, 1977.,3283091.
  6. "Boosters honor Tormey". Spokesman-Review: p. 14. January 31, 1978.,5189781.
  7. "Troxel claims defense key at Idaho". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Associated Press: p. 42. September 7, 1977.,1611066.
  8. "Board approves Tormey contract". Moscow-Pullman Daily News: p. D1. March 23, 1995.,2133833.
  9. College Football Data - Chris Tormey - head coaching record - accessed 2009-10-09
  10. Hawaii - football - Chris Tormey - accessed 2009-10-09
  11. "Tormey back in Palouse at WSU". Seattle Times. January 21, 2011.
  12. "Football: Chris Tormey joins Wyoming football coaching staff". University of Wyoming Athletics. December 28, 2011. Retrieved March 26, 2012.

External links