ThunderWolves Football Camps
Offensive Coaching Staff
Offensive Line Coordinator/Run Game Coordinator
Chris Symington is entering his fifth season 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, has saw his unit produce four All-Americans, six all-region selections and one Gene Upshaw Award finalist in just four seasons.
Under Symington’s direction, CSU-Pueblo’s offensive line has established itself as one of the top units in the country. 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 protege, received an invite to the Texas vs. the Nation Bowl, one of the top Division I senior bowls in the nation.
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.
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 four grandchildren.
Former Colorado State University quarterbacks coach, Daren Wilkinson, is entering his first season as CSU-Pueblo's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Wilkinson, who last coached with the Rams under Steve Fairchild from 2008-12 and also served as the Rams' Assistant Recruiting Coordinator, helped lead Colorado State to the New Mexico Bowl championship in 2008. He has coached quarterbacks that have set Mountain West Conference freshman passing records and coached one NFL player, Billy Farris, who was with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009.
Wilkinson has coached for 15 years at the collegiate level, beginning as an offensive graduate assistant at Colorado State in 1997 and 1998 after quarterbacking the Rams for two seasons, leading them to the 1995 Western Athletic Conference title.
He then served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Eastern Arizona College from 1999-2000, then moved up to Division II Fayetteville State (N.C.), where he was the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach from 2001-03, helping to lead the squad to a playoff berth in 2002 and two conference titles.
In 2004, he arrived at South Dakota State prior to their first season in transition to a Division I program, serving as offensive coordinator, quarterbacks and wide receivers coach. He helped SDSU have a smooth transition to Division I as the team had a winning record each season he led the offense, culminating in the 2007 Great West Conference championship. It was this success that led to his return to Fort Collins, joining Fairchild's staff in 2008.
As a player, Wilkinson started seven games for Colorado State in 1995. During that junior year, he helped the Rams to a share of the WAC championship. He did not play as a senior in 1996, when Former NFL quarterback Moses Moreno emerged as an eventual Western Athletic Conference offensive MVP.
The College Sports Magazine Junior College Player of the Year in 1994, Wilkinson was a second-team JC All-American at Ricks Junior College (now BYU-Idaho). He went 21-1 as a starter, including an 11-0 mark in 1994, when he threw for more than 3,000 yards, before transferring to Colorado State.
Wilkinson grew up in Valley Center, Calif., where he competed at Orange Glen High School. A two-sport athlete, he lettered in both basketball and football, earning second-team all-conference honors on the gridiron.
Born Feb. 11, 1972, in Corona, Calif., he owns two degrees from Colorado State, a bachelor's in psychology ('97) and a master's in education ('99). Daren and his wife of nearly 20 years, Ann, have three children: Alexa, Macy and Jet.
Running Backs Coach
Steve Sewell is entering his sixth season as CSU-Pueblo’s running backs coach.
In his first five seasons as the Pack’s running backs coach, he coached a group of backs that finished the season ranked in the national top 20 statistically twice and the top 30 three times. He helped guide a turnaround from 2008 to 2009, as a unit that was ranked in the bottom 10 nationally turned it around to be the 14th-best rushing unit in the nation.
He also tutored tailback Jesse Lewis, who set most CSU-Pueblo rushing records from 2008 to 2011, earning an All-American honor in 2010 and being named a finalist for the Harlon Hill Award (Division II’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy) in 2010 and 2011.
Under his tutelage, four different CSU-Pueblo backs have accomplished All-RMAC distinction on eight different occasions, with three (Lewis, Marquis McNeal and J.B. Mathews) receiving all-region honors and two (Mathews and Cameron McDondle) being named RMAC Offensive Freshman of the Year.
Sewell is famously known to Denver Broncos fans in southern Colorado, having played for the Broncos from 1985 to 1992, including the Broncos’ Super Bowl seasons of 1986, 1987 and 1989. Since retiring in 1993, Sewell, a resident of Aurora, Colo., had slowly warmed up to coaching as his day job, having most recently been an assistant coach with the Grandview High School football team in Centennial, Colo.
Sewell, who had been the team’s offensive coordinator the past two seasons, was instrumental in Grandview’s 5A Colorado State Championship title in 2007. During Grandview’s state championship run, the Grandview offense was nearly unstoppable, averaging 332 yards of offense per game, including an average of 237 rushing yards per game. The state’s leading individual runner, Bo Bolen, tutored under Sewell, en route to 2,291 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns.
In Sewell’s four seasons with the team, Grandview made the 5A state playoffs three of those four seasons, including a berth in the state semifinal in 2005.
As a player with the Broncos, Sewell had learned from some of the best, including current and former NFL head coaches Mike Shanahan (Washington Redskins) and Chan Gailey (Buffalo Bills), Dan Reeves (Broncos), Wade Phillips (Dallas Cowboys), and Mike Nolan (49ers). As a player at the University of Oklahoma, Sewell was coached by Barry Switzer and current University of Texas head coach, Mack Brown, each of which won national championships at the collegiate level. Sewell also played alongside current Houston Texans head coach, Gary Kubiak, who was a backup quarterback for the Broncos during Sewell’s time with the team.
Sewell received his bachelor’s degree in Organizational Communication from the University of Oklahoma in 1986. A California-native, Sewell graduated from Riordan High School in San Francisco in 1981. He is the father of three children: Samuel, Caleb and Calah.
Wide Receivers Coach
Bernard Jackson, former CSU-Pueblo wide receiver, is entering his third season as the ThunderWolves’ wide receivers coach.
In his first season as the Pack’s receiving coach, CSU-Pueblo turned in its best season since the football program’s rebirth in 2008 in terms of receiving yardage, averaging 181.7 receiving yards per game. Also for the first time since the rebirth of the program, a CSU-Pueblo receiver garnered all-conference honors as both Paul Browning and Josh Sandoval earned All-RMAC distinction.
2012 was even better as the team set school records for receiving yardage, averaging 238.2 yards per game, helping to make quarterback Ross Dausin into an All-American.
As a player for the ThunderWolves in 2010, Jackson led the ThunderWolves in receiving with 34 receptions for 453 yards, logging 721 all purpose yards during the season. His success came after a four-year hiatus from the game, last hitting the field as the starting quarterback at the University of Colorado in 2006.
A native of Corona, Calif. and a 2011 graduate of CSU-Pueblo, Jackson also received the ThunderWolves’ Fellowship of Christian Athletes Integrity Award in 2011. He is the father of one son, Jayden, and resides in Pueblo.