It's now 95 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on Saturday, September 3rd, 2022, against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers, on Buccaneer Field in Charleston, SC
To help pass those long summer days, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, and knowledgeable of the team members, we'll continue the football countdown each day until kickoff day.
Chris Norris joined the Catamount football coaching staff as the special teams coordinator in early March 2022. Norris spent the five previous seasons working as a football analyst focusing primarily on special teams at the University of Oregon.
Over his football career, Norris has been a part of two national championship squads coming as a player at Nebraska in 1994 and 1995 and six conference championship programs as a coach since 1999. He has mentored two, Top 10 NFL Draft picks, worked with six All-America selections who combined to earn accolades over nine seasons, and 19 combined players to earn all-conference plaudits.
During his five seasons on the sidelines at Oregon, Norris was instrumental in Oregon's success on special teams, teaming with special teams coach Bobby Williams over the last three. As an analyst, Oregon landed a special teams player on the first-team All-Pac-12 Conference in a vote of the league's coaches. In 2019, Brady Breeze claimed the all-purpose/special teams honor following Brenden Schooler being named to the position the previous two seasons.
With the Ducks, Norris mentored punters, Tom Snee and Blake Maimone. Snee averaged 43.64 yards per punt in the 2020 season shortened by COVID-19 – second in the Pac-12 and 28th nationally. Maimone completed his collegiate career with a 43.4-yard average on 107 career punts.
Oregon also excelled in the kickoff return game in 2020, leading the Pac-12 in returns of 30-or-more yards with seven. In 2019, Oregon was the only team in the nation to rank in the top 10 in both punt return average and kickoff return average. The Ducks finished eighth in the nation and second in the Pac-12 with a 26.28 kickoff return average. UO was ninth in the country and third in the league with a 14.33 punt return average.
Before making the move to the Pacific Northwest, Norris spent a season at the University of South Florida serving as a recruiting assistant and special teams advisor. He helped the Bulls to an 11-2 record and a spot in the Birmingham Bowl. Punt returner D'Ernest Johnson claimed second-team All-American Athletic Conference following the season.
Norris' coaching experience includes three seasons at Webber International as the special teams coordinator and running backs coach where he mentored five players to all-conference recognition including all-time leading rusher Darius Page who ran for 1,239 yards in 2015.
He also spent eight seasons on the sidelines at Southeast Missouri State from 2006-13, again coaching running backs and serving as the special teams coach. While at SEMO, Norris coached Henry Harris, the 2010 Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year and first-team All-American, who shattered numerous school records. Harris, who finished fifth in the overall voting for the Walter Payton Award, became Southeast's all-time single-season leader in rushing yards, all-purpose yards, points scored, total touchdowns, and rushing touchdowns.
Norris helped a SEMO punter earn All-America honors in four of his first six years on the Redhawks coaching staff. Return men flourished under Norris' leadership. Five of Southeast's top-10 career kick return leaders came under Norris' watch.
His experience includes three seasons at Jacksonville (2003-05) where he coached All-Americans in each of his three seasons with the Dolphins including punter Ryan Long in 2003 and punter/kicker Ryan Feely in 2004. Norris also spent three seasons at Tennessee State as special teams coordinator and running backs coach after beginning his college coaching career as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Northern State in South Dakota.
Norris played fullback at Nebraska (1991-95) helping the Cornhuskers win National Championships in both 1994 and 1995. Nebraska compiled a 47-3 record during his time in Lincoln. During the 1995 season, he suffered a career-ending injury. Despite the injury, he became a student-assistant coach and helped lead the Cornhuskers to a fifth straight Big Eight title and a second consecutive National Championship.
Originally from Papillion, Neb., Norris earned his bachelor's degree from Nebraska-Omaha in 1999. He and his wife, Tracee, have one daughter, Breeze.