WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue head football coach Jeff Brohm announced that Mark Tommerdahl has been hired as an assistant coach. Tommerdahl (TUM-ur-doll) will work with special teams and the tight ends.
Tommerdahl joins the Boilermakers after spending one season at Utah State as the Aggies special teams coordinator and running backs coach. Utah State went 6-6 in the regular season and played New Mexico State in the NOVA Homes Loan Arizona Bowl in Tucson, Arizona. The Aggies averaged 171.4 yards rushing per game in 2017, with senior running back LaJuan Hunt leading the way with 829 yards on the ground and 11 touchdowns for the season.
A veteran of 34 years of collegiate coaching, including 23 as a special teams coordinator, Tommerdahl has coached in 15 bowl games and been a part of six conference championships during his career. Under Tommerdahl’s guide, Louisiana Tech punter Ryan Allen became the first player to win the Ray Guy Award in back-to-back seasons in 2011 and 2012. Allen, who now punts for the New England Patriots, was named a unanimous All-American in 2012.
Prior to Utah State, Tommerdahl spent four seasons at California (2013-16) as the special teams coordinator, while also serving as the assistant head coach (2015-16), tight ends coach (2014), fullbacks coach (2014) and inside receivers coach (2013).
The Golden Bears led the Pac-12 and were 14th nationally in kickoff return defense in 2016, limiting the opposition to merely 18.02 yards per return. That same season, placekicker Matt Anderson broke the school record with 117 points, equaled the school record with 22 successful field goals and tied the school record with five goals in a game against UCLA. Anderson was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award.
Cal went 8-5 in 2015 and played in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. The postseason appearance was the Golden Bears’ first since 2011, and the 55-36 victory over Air Force was Cal’s first bowl win since 2008. Tommerdahl’s 2015 special teams blocked three punts and allowed merely six punt returns for 62 yards on the year.
Under Tommerdahl’s guide, Cal’s Trevor Davis became the 20th player in FBS history and the third in the Pac-12 to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in a single game on consecutive returns of 100 and 98 yards at Washington State in 2014. Davis averaged a school-record 32.6 yards per kick return in 2014, finishing second in the nation.
Tommerdahl spent four seasons at Louisiana Tech (2009-12) as the special teams coordinator and inside receivers coach. As noted above, Allen highlighted Tommerdahl’s tenure in Ruston, leading the nation in punting average (48.04) as a senior in 2012 and finishing with a 46.12 average as a junior the previous year. Allen, an All-Western Athletic Conference selection in 2011 and 2012, is merely the second two-time winner of the Ray Guy Award.
The Bulldogs won the WAC title in 2011 and went to the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego, California.
In 2009, Tommerdahl coached tight end Dennis Morris to All-America honors after he finished the season with 38 catches for 623 yards receiving and 12 touchdown catches, the most for any tight end in the nation that season.
Bulldog wide receiver Phillip Livas, who played his final two seasons under Tommerdahl, tied the NCAA record for the most career touchdown returns with eight, four on punt returns and four on kickoffs.
Prior to serving one season (2008) as Louisiana Monroe’s assistant head coach, special teams coordinator and tight ends coach, Tommerdahl spent five years (2003-07) as the Texas A&M’s special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. The Aggies appeared in three bowls during his time in College Station, including the 2005 Cotton Bowl.
Current New England Patriot Martellus Bennett played for Tommerdahl at A&M and finished his three-year career as the school’s all-time tight end in receptions (105) and yards (1,246). Bennett, a semifinalist for the John Mackey Award as a sophomore, was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the 2008 National Football League Draft.
Tommerdahl’s special teams units at Texas A&M were also among the nation’s best, ranking in the top 25 in the nation in net punting in 2006 (37.00, 25th) and 2007 (39.17, 5th), and in kickoff returns in 2003 (23.90, 10th), 2006 (26.08, 3rd) and 2007 (23.54, 20th).
Tommerdahl spent two seasons at Alabama (2001-02), serving as the Crimson Tide’s special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. Alabama finished the 2002 season ranked 11th in the final Associated Press Poll after winning the Southeastern Conference’s West Division. In 2001, the Tide won the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Tommerdahl has served as the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at TCU (1998-2000), New Mexico (1997) and Minnesota (1995-96). In his two seasons with the Golden Gophers, he additionally held the recruiting coordinator position.
The Horned Frogs won WAC titles in 1999 and 2000 with Tommerdahl on staff, while also winning the 1998 Sun Bowl and 1999 Mobile Alabama Bowl and appearing the 2000 Mobile Alabama Bowl.
The Lobos went 9-3 and appeared in the Insight.com Bowl in Tucson in Tommerdahl’s lone season at New Mexico.
Tommerdahl began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Wyoming in 1984. After two seasons as a GA, he would spend nine seasons on the staff of the Cowboys, serving as the recruiting coordinator (1986-89), tight ends coach (1987-90) offensive coordinator (1990) and backfield coach (1991-94). Wyoming won WAC titles in 1987, 1988 and 1993 and appeared in the 1987 and 1988 Holiday Bowls and 1990 and 1993 Copper Bowls.
Tommerdahl, a native of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, earned a bachelor’s degree in business and physical education from Concordia College in Minnesota in 1982. He earned his MBA with an emphasis in marketing from Wyoming in 1986.
Tommerdahl’s wife, Annette, holds a PhD in counseling education with an emphasis in university administration.