Mark Tommerdahl is in his first season as the special teams coordinator/inside receivers coach at Cal in 2013 after being hired on December 14, 2012. Tommerdahl is a veteran Division I coach with experience at some of the top Division I football programs in the country. He has served on coaching staffs of 13 bowl teams as well as six league champions and two division winners.
"Mark Tommerdahl is a veteran coach that has been a key member of staffs at the top level of college football," head coach Sonny Dykes said. "His track record in developing top specialists and producing some of the strongest special teams play in the nation is impeccable. He also does a fantastic job working with inside receivers."
"Cal is a program with a really strong long-standing tradition," Tommerdahl said. "It is our intent to revive that tradition and build upon it. The players are going to be excited about what we do and the fans are going to be excited about the results. We are all looking forward to attracting top-notch student-athletes to one of the finest academic institutions in the nation."
Tommerdahl spent the past four seasons at Louisiana Tech, including the last three as the special teams coordinator and inside receivers coach under Dykes after the previous campaign as the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. During his tenure with the Bulldogs, he tutored a pair of All-Americans in two-time first-team selection punter Ryan Allen (2011, ’12) and tight end Dennis Morris (2009), with Allen currently a member of the New England Patriots after signing an undrafted free agent contract with the NFL team following his 2012 collegiate season.
In addition to leading the country in scoring offense and total offense with an offense that posted the fifth-highest per-game scoring average ever by a team in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), Louisiana Tech was among the NCAA's top 20 in 2012 in passing offense (3rd, 350.75 ypg), fewest sacks allowed (7th, 0.83 spg), turnover margin (10th, +1.08 per game) and rushing offense (18th, 227.17 ypg). The Bulldogs scored more than 40 points in 11 of 12 games and over 50 points on eight occasions.
Louisiana Tech also led the nation in 2012 in net punting with a 43.51 average behind the performance of Allen, who became the first back-to-back and second two-time winner of the Ray Guy Award that was first given in 2000. Allen led the nation in punting in 2012 with a school-record 48.04 yards per punt average, punting 45 times for 2,162 yards. He had 21 punts of 50 yards or more, including the nation's longest punt of the season with an 85-yarder at New Mexico State. Allen also pinned opponents inside the 20-yard-line on 20 occasions with only five touchbacks.
Allen's 2012 campaign followed a 2011 season in which he was the only player from a non-BCS school to win a national award after averaging 46.12 yards per punt to rank fifth nationally. The Bulldogs were eighth in the country in net punting (40.12 ypg) and also led the nation in kickoff coverage.
In 2010, Louisiana Tech led the WAC and ranked 10th nationally in punt returns with an average of 13.63 yards per return, while ranking fourth in the conference and 25th nationally in kick returns (23.52 ypg). Most of the Bulldogs' prowess was due to the play of Phillip Livas, who led the WAC and ranked sixth nationally with an average of 15.50 yards per punt return. Livas was also fifth in the WAC and 49th nationally in kick returns with a 24.63 average. Livas played his final two seasons for Tommerdahl during a career in which he tied an NCAA all-time record with a combined eight kick and punt return touchdowns, bringing back four of each for scores.
Morris garnered All-American honors and was named the Tight End Performer of the Year by the College Football Performance Awards in 2009 with 38 catches for 623 yards and 12 receiving touchdowns that were the most nationally among tight ends that season. In addition, his punt return squad led the WAC and ranked 25th nationally (12.33 ypr).
Tommerdahl spent the 2008 season as an assistant head coach, special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Louisiana-Monroe. He developed first-team All-Sun Belt tight end Kenneth Zacharie and also had a kickoff coverage team that led the conference.
For five seasons from 2003-07, Tommerdahl was the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Texas A&M. During his tenure with the Aggies, Tommerdahl helped lead the program to the Cotton Bowl (2004), Holiday Bowl (2006) and Alamo Bowl (2007).
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 (25th, 37.00 nypp) and 2007 (5th, 39.17 nypp), and in kickoff returns in 2003 (10th, 23.90 ypr), 2006 (3rd, 26.08 ypr) and 2007 (20th, 23.54 ypr).
He coached current Chicago Bears’ tight end Martellus Bennett, who ended his Texas A&M career as the program's all-time leader at the position in receptions and yards receiving. During the 2005 season at Texas A&M, Tommerdahl coached a pair of freshmen All-Americans in Bennett and punter Justin Brantly.
Tommerdahl spent the 2001 and 2002 seasons at Alabama as the program's special teams coordinator and tight ends coach, helping the Crimson Tide to the 2001 Independence Bowl and 2002 SEC West Division title when the squad finished 11th in the final AP Top 25.
Tommerdahl also served as the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach during stints at TCU (1998-2000), New Mexico (1997) and Minnesota (1995-96), coaching a Lou Groza Award semifinalist at all three schools. He added recruiting coordinator duties at Minnesota.
TCU won a pair of Western Athletic Conference titles in 1999 and 2000 on its way to appearances in the Mobile Alabama Bowl each season. Tommerdahl's special teams groups made significant contributions, with a kickoff return unit that was ranked first nationally both seasons, while his special teams squads led the league in three of four statistical categories each campaign.
In 1997 at New Mexico, four of the Lobos' special teams units were ranked in the top 20 in the country as the team won the WAC Mountain Division title and played in the Insight.com Bowl.
A native of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, Tommerdahl began his collegiate coaching career in 1984 with a two-year stint as a graduate assistant at Wyoming, where he spent 11 seasons serving in numerous capacities also including offensive coordinator, backfield coach, tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator. He helped lead the Cowboys to four bowl appearances and three WAC titles during his tenure.
Tommerdahl earned bachelor's degrees in business and physical education from Concordia College in Minnesota in 1983, and an MBA with an emphasis in marketing from Wyoming in 1986. He is married to the former Annette Jondahl.
The Tommerdahl File
Collegiate Coaching History
Bowl Games (13)
*Season in which bowl game was played
Last Updated: July 25, 2013