“I’m absolutely fired up about coming to New Mexico State as the offensive line coach,” Symington said. “I can’t wait to get to Las Cruces and get to work. This is a great opportunity. I knew Coach Martin when he was at Kent State and Coach Brandon when he was at Bowling Green from my days at Eastern Michigan. I’ve been at Colorado State-Pueblo for five seasons and during that time we had three undefeated seasons, so I’m accustomed to winning and I can’t wait to start doing the same at New Mexico State.”
“To get a coach like Chris (Symington) with experience coaching in the SEC and the Mid-American Conference is a great hire for this program,” Martin said. “More importantly, Chris has extensive knowledge of the spread offense, which is something we have not had in our last few offensive line coaches. We are really fortunate to get a coach of his caliber.”
Symington spent the last five seasons as CSU-Pueblo’s offensive line coach and run game coordinator. Symington, potentially the most influential assistant coach in the history of the CSU-Pueblo football program, saw his unit produce four All-Americans, six all-region selections and one Gene Upshaw Award finalist in just five seasons.
Under Symington’s direction, CSU-Pueblo’s offensive line established itself as one of the top units in the country. In 2013, the ThunderWolves offensive line was instrumental in helping the team rank ninth nationally in scoring with 42.7 points per game and sixth nationally in total offense per game (509.3). CSU-Pueblo’s offense averaged 213.7 yards per game with 26 rushing touchdowns, which led the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. He guided offensive linemen Drew Swartz, Austin Payne and Zack Martinez to first team All-RMAC. Swartz was also a second team Daktronics All-Super Region Four selection and a Beyond Sports College Network Honorable Mention NCAA Division II All-American.
In 2012, the CSU-Pueblo offensive line boasted two All-Americans (Ryan Jensen and Jonathan Jones), three all-region selections (Jensen, Jones and Bryce Givens) and opened up lanes for a stable of backs that saw four different runners have at least one 100-yard rushing game throughout the season. As a result, Jensen, a Symington protégé, received an invite to the Texas vs. the Nation Bowl, one of the top Division I senior bowls in the nation. Later that year, Jensen was drafted by Baltimore Ravens in the sixth round.
In 2011, two ThunderWolf offensive linemen (Ryan Jensen and J.T. Haddan) were named All-American while a third (Jonathan Jones) earned All-Super Region honors during the ThunderWolves’ 11-0 RMAC Championship season.
Upon his arrival to the program in 2009, he directed the nation’s most improved running game, turning a unit that ranked in the bottom 10 nationally in rushing yards in 2008 into the nation’s 14th-best running attack in 2009. Amazingly, the Pack running game accomplished this with two sophomores in the backfield and all true or redshirt freshmen on the offensive line.
His unit followed it up with a repeat performance in 2010, ranked 16th in the nation and helping elevate Jesse Lewis as a Harlon Hill Award finalist. In 2011, the ThunderWolves’ line enabled Lewis to get a repeat Harlon Hill Award finalist honor as well as an RMAC Freshman of the Year nod for tailback J.B. Mathews.
Symington brought 25 years of experience as a player and coach to the ThunderWolves, much of it at the Division-I level. He had served as the offensive line coach at Eastern Michigan from 2003-2008, helping the Eagles’ offense to record the most total yards in school history in 2008 and put up some of the most prolific rushing yardage numbers in the history of the program. During his time at Eastern Michigan, Symington coached T.J. Lang, who was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the fourth round of the NFL draft. Lang is a starting guard for the Packers.
Prior to his time at Eastern Michigan, Symington had held offensive line coaching posts at numerous universities, including Tennessee State (2000-03), Western Kentucky (1996-99), and Vanderbilt (1990-94). From 1995-96, Symington was the offensive coordinator at the Division-II level with Northwood (Mich.) University.
An offensive lineman at the University of Colorado from 1984-88, Symington was named the Freedom Bowl Most Valuable Player in 1985, was the team’s offensive player of the year in 1987, and was an all-Big 8 honorable mention selection. Prior to obtaining his first coaching position as a graduate assistant at CU alongside current CSU-Pueblo head coach Wristen, Symington signed a free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1988.
Symington and his wife, Marti, have six children: Adam, Jessica, Blair, Jackson, Mary Grace and Stuart, as well as five grandchildren.