Chris made his mark at the University of Idaho when he coached the Vandal football team to its first bowl game victory at the IA-level.
Chris was UI’s coach during 1995-99 and compiled a 32-23 record during his five years, including an 18-11 league mark. He was 6-5 his first year, which was then UI’s final year in I-AA and helped the team make the transition to the Big West Conference.
His best year came in 1998 when he led the Vandals to the Big West Title and a 9-3 record. The season was highlighted by UI’s 42-35 win over Southern Mississippi in the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise. Southern Miss entered the game as a 16-point favorite. The team also defeated Boise State 42-35 in overtime, which remains UI’s last win over the Broncos in football. Chris was named the Big West Coach of the Year that season.
The following season, Idaho went 7-4 and defeated Washington State 28-17 for the program’s first victory over the Cougars in 34 years.
Born in Nebraska, Chris moved to Spokane at an early age and played his high school ball at Gonzaga Prep. He then attended UI to play football and had an outstanding sophomore season in 1974 but he suffered a knee injury in the final game. He eventually had surgery and missed the 1975 season.
Chris bounced back in 1976 and was an all-Big Sky performer at defensive end and was named the team’s outstanding defensive player. He moved to outside linebacker in 1977 and again earned all-Big Sky honors.
After a brief training camp experience with the Washington Redskins, Chris started his coaching career at Gonzaga Prep and then was a graduate assistant at the University of Washington. When Dennis Erickson was named UI’s coach in 1982, he hired Chris as his defensive line coach.
Chris spent two years with Erickson and then returned to UW for 11 seasons, coaching tight ends, linebackers and the secondary, and serving as defensive coordinator for the final season.
Chris returned to Moscow to coach the Vandals for five seasons, and then was named head coach at Nevada, where he was head coach for four years. Chris then served as an assistant at Washington for five seasons and then two years at Hawaii. In 2011, he was linebackers coach at Washington State, and then served as defensive coordinator at Wyoming for two seasons. He spent 2015 with Montreal of the CFL and then three years as linebackers coach with the BC Lions.