Chris Thompson serves as associate athletic director for student services and senior women's administrator for the Sam Houston State University athletic department.
An SHSU tennis letter-winner, a Sam Houston graduate and a member of the athletic department staff as a coach or an administrator since 1982, Thompson has given more than three decades of service to the university.
In November of 2015, Thompson was selected to receive the 2016 Regents’ Staff Member Award by the Board of Regents of The Texas State University System. The regents annually select an exceptional staff member from one of the eight component institutions in the system to receive the award.
The award recognizes staff who excel in six areas—commitment to the university and its mission; job competency; collegiality; duration of service; community involvement; and exceptional achievement.
Serveing as associate athletic director for student services and senior women's administrator, Thompson has touched the lives and careers of thousands of Bearkat student-athletes.
For the past 22 years, Sam Houston student-athletes have produced overall department grade point averages higher than the university’s general student population. During the fall of the 2015-16 school year, the department produced a record high GPA of 3.16.
Twenty-three times in the past decade, Bearkats have earned the Southland Conference’s coveted recognition as their individual sport’s “Southland Student-Athlete of the Year.” Eleven Bearkats have received national recognition as CoSIDA Academic All-Region selections. Sam Houston student-athletes also have served on NCAA national advisory committees.
Thompsons is CHAMPS/Life Skills coordinator, directing a comprehensive program that assists freshman student-athletes in their transition year and provides a solid foundation for their years at SHSU.
Her areas of responsibility also include student-athlete welfare; eligibility certification; student-athlete affairs course instruction; liaison with the SHSU student-athlete advisory committee; FAR/Athletic Advisory Council; SHSU Lettermen’s and Women’s Letter-Winner Associations and Title IX coordinator;.
“Chris is truly deserving of this honor, not only because of all that she has personally accomplished, but also because of the difference she has made in the lives of so many students,” SHSU President Dana Hoyt said. “Her innovative ideas and unfailing encouragement have motivated numerous Bearkat athletes to be successful in the classroom, as well as in their individual sports. Also, under her direction, our students-athletes have contributed hours of service within the community and region and have impacted many young lives.”
Thompson has overseen the student services programs for the athletic department since 1997.
“Chris Thompson’s successful programs has served as a model for other universities in the Southland Conference,” Sam Houston director of athletics Bobby Williams said. “Her work with the Bearkat Student-Athlete Advisory Committee has been exemplary in setting the standard for the league. Our department motto is ‘Bearkat Athletics – defining the term student-athlete.’ Chris helps us achieve that goal in everything she does.”
A native of Springtown, she received both her bachelor's and master's degrees from Sam Houston State. Thompson came to Huntsville as a transfer from Weatherford Junior College, playing tennis for the Bearkats in 1979 and '80. As a senior, she was the team's "Most Valuable Player" and a finalist for Texas AIAW "Athlete-of-the-Year."
In 1981-82, she became the first full-time tennis coach at Sam Houston State, directing both the men's and women's programs. She was one of only five women to coach an NCAA men's team. In her 16 years of coaching, she produced nine individual conference champions, three Academic All-Americans, two freshmen of the year and was twice named Conference "Coach of the Year."
In 1997, she moved into athletic administration as associate athletic director for student services.
Thompson has been honored as a Distinguished Physical Education Alumna and received the Sam Houston Alumni Service Award and the Sammy Award as Outstanding Adviser. In December 2010, Thompson was inducted into the Sam Houston Women's Letterwinners Association Hall of Honor.
Her husband Robert Thompson was an All-American and national medalist for the Bearkats NAIA national championship golf teams. The pair have a son, Kyle. A graduate of Huntsville High School, Kyle is scheduled to earn his bachelor's degree from Texas Lutheran in May. He has played on Texas Lutheran's tennis team the past four years.