|Position:||Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator|
|Hometown:||Fergus Falls, MN|
|High School:||Fergus Falls HS|
|Alma Mater:||Concordia College (Minnesota)|
|Major:||Business & Physical Education|
Mark Tommerdahl is in his third season as the special teams coordinator at Cal in 2015 and his first with added duties as the program’s assistant head coach Cal this season with the Golden Bears posting a 7-5 regular-season mark to secure a winning record and a spot in postseason play for the first time since 2011 at the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. A bowl victory would give Cal its first eight-win season since the 2009 team was 8-5 with only 17 squads since the beginning of Cal football in 1882-83 winning either nine or 10.
Tommerdahl also worked with the team’s inside receivers of Cal’s record-breaking offense in both 2013 and 2014, while also coaching the team’s fullbacks in 2014.
Tommerdahl's special teams unit have had several special moments during his Cal tenure including in a trio of games in 2015 most recently when Matt Anderson made a 26-yard field goal with no time remaining to lift the Golden Bears to a 48-46 comeback victory over Arizona State in the regular-season finale. Other notable special teams moments of the 2015 campaigns were a pair of blocked punts at Oregon on both of the Ducks' attempts by Raymond Hudson and Hamilton Anoa'i that make Cal one of only two teams to block a pair of punts in 2015 and a successful onside kick in a victory over Washington State that has been the only one by a Pac-12 team this season. The two blocked punts at Oregon also led to a single-game school record 2.5 yards allowed per punt return.
Cal's total of three punts in 2015 leads the Pac-12 and ranks tied for second nationally with Matt Rockett recording the campaign's other block in the season-opener against Grambling State. The Bears also have allowed only six punt returns, one less than the school-record low of seven during the 2014 campaign.
The Bears also had a game-winning field goal on the final play of a 59-56 double overtime victory against Colorado in 2014 when James Langford nailed a 34-yard field goal in the second overtime. Trevor Davis, a 2015 preseason All-American, had one of the most memorable games by an individual in the history of Cal football in 2014 in a wild 60-59 win at Washington State when he equaled NCAA and Pac-12 single-game records by becoming the 20th player in FBS history and the third in the Pac-12 to bring back two kick returns for touchdowns in a single game on consecutive kick returns of 100 and 98 yards. His 99.0 yards per return average was also a single-game school record and his 100-yard kick return the longest by a Cal player since 1999.
Tommerdahl’s 2014 special teams units were highlighted by Davis, who averaged a single-season school-record 32.6 yards per kick return to rank second in the nation in 2014 and also tied for second nationally with a pair of kick returns for touchdowns to earn first-team All-Pac-12 honors from Phil Steele among a long list of honors.
In addition to their game-winning field goals the last two seasons, Anderson and Langford developed into solid kickers under Tommerdahl.
In his first season on the job in 2015, Anderson made his final 10 regular-season field goal attempts, as well as 15 of his last 16 and 16-of-19 overall while currently leading the team with 91 points overall. Anderson was also a first-team Pac-12 All-Academic choice with a 3.75 cumulative GPA in a business administration major.
Langford was solid in his lone season as the team’s kicker as a 2014 senior, making each of his eight field goal attempts from 41 yards or closer.
In Tommerdahl’s first season in 2013 placekicker Vincenzo D’Amato along with punter Cole Leininger received all-conference honors after showing great improvement.
D’Amato was a second-team All-Pac-12 choice of the league’s coaches and a third-team selection of Athlon and Phil Steele. He was also a national semifinalist for the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, a final candidate for the Senior CLASS Award, an honorable mention Pac-12 All-Academic pick, and played in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl following the season. D’Amato made 17-of-20 (85.0%) field goal attempts to rank tied for second in the Pac-12 and tied for 23rd nationally in field goal percentage. He was also tied for third in the conference and tied for 25th nationally in field goals made per game (1.42 fgmpg).
Leininger was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection according to College Sports Madness as a 2013 sophomore after his 42.9 yards per punt average that was a full three yards better than his 2012 mark ranked third in the Pac-12 and 33rd nationally while checking in at eighth on Cal's all-time single-season list.
Leininger has been Cal's starting punter since beginning his collegiate career in 2012 and has a current 41.10 yards per punt average that is 10 th in school history. He was a member of the watch list for the Ray Guy Award honoring the nation’s top punter during both his sophomore and junior campaigns, starting his junior season on the list after being added midseason as a sophomore.
Cal opponents posted the lowest net punting average during both the 2014 (34.2) and 2015 (35.5) campaigns.
“Mark Tommerdahl is one of the elite special teams coaches in the country who has been a key member of staffs at the top level of college football,” head coach Sonny Dykes said. “He has an impeccable track record in developing top specialists and producing some of the strongest special teams play in the nation.”
“Cal is a program with a strong long-standing tradition of overall excellence,” Tommerdahl said. “Our objectives remain to revive that tradition and build upon it. It is an honor to represent one of the elite academic institutions in the country. We simply need to perform and recruit to the level of this fine institution.”
Including the 2015 bowl Cal is eligible for Tommerdahl has served on coaching staffs of 14 bowl teams as well as six league champions and two division winners at some of the top Division I football programs in the country over his three decades as a collegiate coach.
Prior to his arrival in Berkeley, Tommerdahl spent four seasons at Louisiana Tech from 2009-12, including the final three as the special teams coordinator and inside receivers coach under Dykes. 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 punting in all 32 regular-season games and five postseason contests for the Super Bowl XLIX champion New England Patriots during the 2013 and 2014 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 a unit 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). Much 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 yard 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 receiving and 12 touchdown catches that were the most nationally among tight ends that season. In addition, Tommerdahl’s 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 (37.00 nypp, 25th) and 2007 (39.17 nypp, 5th), and in kickoff returns in 2003 (23.90 ypr, 10th), 2006 (26.08 ypr, 3rd) and 2007 (23.54 ypr, 20th).
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 Freshman 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 campaigns while his special teams squads led the league in three of four statistical categories each season.
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, Minn., 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.
Mark Tommerdahl File
Birthdate: February 20, 1961
Hometown: Fergus Falls, MN
High School: Fergus Falls HS
College: Concordia College (Minnesota), 1982, Bachelor's in Business and Physical Education
Family: Wife, Annette
Collegiate Coaching History
Season: School – Position
1984: Wyoming – Graduate Assistant
1985: Wyoming – Graduate Assistant
1992: Wyoming – Backfield
1993: Wyoming – Backfield
1994: Wyoming – Backfield
1995: Minnesota – Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends/Recruiting Coordinator
1996: Minnesota – Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends/Recruiting Coordinator
1997: New Mexico – Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
1998: TCU – Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
1999: TCU – Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
2000: TCU – Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
2001: Alabama – Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
2003: Texas A&M – Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
2005: Texas A&M – Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
2006: Texas A&M – Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
2007: Texas A&M – Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
2008: Louisiana Monroe – Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
2009: Louisiana Tech – Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
2010: Louisiana Tech – Special Teams Coordinator/Inside Receiver
2011: Louisiana Tech – Special Teams Coordinator/Inside Receiver
2012: Louisiana Tech – Special Teams Coordinator/Inside Receiver
2013: Cal – Special Teams Coordinator/Inside Receiver
2014: Cal – Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends/Fullbacks
2015: Cal – Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator
Bowl History (14 Games)
Season: School – Bowl
1987: Wyoming – Holiday Bowl
1988: Wyoming – Holiday Bowl
1990: Wyoming – Copper Bowl
1993: Wyoming – Copper Bowl
1997: New Mexico – Insight.com Bowl
1998: TCU – Sun Bowl
1999: TCU – Mobile Alabama Bowl
2000: TCU – Mobile Alabama Bowl
2001: Alabama – Independence Bowl
2004: Texas A&M – Cotton Bowl
2006: Texas A&M – Holiday Bowl
2007: Texas A&M – Alamo Bowl
2011: Louisiana Tech – Poinsettia Bowl
2015: Cal – Armed Forces Bowl
*Season in which bowl/playoff was played
December 9, 2015