Dowler to Retire as Associate Athletics Director

April 23, 1999


One of the original Cowboy Joes is closing the corral gate on a great career with the University of Wyoming.

Joe Dowler, who has dedicated 26 years to the UW Athletics Department as a coach and administrator, is retiring June 4. For the past 12 years he has been Associate Athletics Director. He will turn 60 on Aug. 2, 1999.

"I have had a wonderful experience here, one I wouldn't trade," Dowler said. "I've worked with great people, and been involved with the finest young people this country has to offer. But Glenda and I have decided to spend more time with our family, do some traveling and watch our grandchildren grow."

Dowler, a native of Wyoming, attended Cheyenne High School where he earned eight varsity letters, three each in football and track and two in wrestling. He came to the University of Wyoming June 1, 1973, as Cowboy wrestling coach after serving in the same capacity at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

During his 14 years as Cowboy wrestling coach, Dowler compiled a 106-62-1 dual record, capturing three Western Athletic Conference Championships (1983, 85 and 86), and four straight Mountain Intercollegiate Wrestling Association titles. He also coached 32 conference champions, two NCAA place-winners and two All-Americans while at Wyoming.

In 1987, Dowler was named associate athletics director by then Athletics Director Paul Roach to administer the day-to-day operations of the department. The position was created after Roach added the duties of head football coach to his athletic director's responsibilities. Through his 12 years as a UW administrator, Dowler was charged with many of the operational aspects of the department, as well as the supervision of 10 UW varsity sports. Most recently, he was in charge of athletics facilities and special projects for the department.

A 1961 graduate of the University of Colorado, he won two letters in wrestling and two in football. He was a member of CU's 1960 Big Eight Championship team that went on to play in the Orange Bowl.

Dowler is a member of one of Wyoming's most famous athletic families. His father Walt, a native of Casper, was an outstanding football player at UW from 1931-33 and later went on to become a legendary high school football, basketball and track coach in the state of Wyoming. His mother Kay was an All-State basketball player and accomplished track athlete at Torrington High School. His brother Boyd was a standout football player at the University of Colorado and later with the World Champion Green Bay Packers. Brother John was a letterwinner on the University of Wyoming football team in 1963 and 64. And Dowler describes his sister Lyn by saying that, "she may have been the best athlete of the bunch."

"Joe Dowler has been what Cowboy athletics is all about," UW Athletics Director Lee Moon said. "No one has cared any more, or worked any harder for this program through the years than Joe. He is a Wyoming Man who is so proud of his state, and what this athletics department has accomplished. He has meant a tremendous amount to UW athletics, and we want him to stay with us in a part-time capacity as long as he wishes. We want him to continue his involvement in the Hall of Fame, as well as resurrect a club for Cowboy and Cowgirl letterwinners. Joe is a special individual, and we are all better for knowing him."

Among his coaching achievements, Dowler was named WAC Coach of the Year twice, in 1975 and 1985, and was a nominee for NCAA Wrestling Coach of the Year honors. He served as President of the National Wrestling Coaches Association, and served as Chairman of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee. He was also inducted into the Wyoming High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1986.

Dowler was the sixth wrestling coach in Wyoming history. He completed his collegiate coaching career with a record of 142-77-2. His collegiate coaching career began at Superior in 1970. He led that school to two league titles, two perfect seasons, and a 37-14-1 dual record in three years.

Dowler began his coaching career at Cheyenne Central in 1963. During his four seasons his teams compiled a 42-6 dual mark, finishing undefeated his last two years. His 1966 and 1967 teams were Wyoming State High School Champions. In 1967 he was named coach of the first U.S. Junior World Championship team. In eight years at Cheyenne Central, and Boulder (Colo.) High School, his record was 67-19-2.

In addition, he helped initiate the High School Wrestling Cultural Exchange Program, and was involved in initiating the Junior World Wrestling Program. He coached the Rocky Mountain All-Star team that toured Japan in 1966, and coached the first U.S. Junior World Championship team that toured Central Europe in 1967. In 1980, Dowler organized the National Coaches' Association Olympic Hopeful Program, and served as coach of their inaugural team that competed in the Struga Pearl International Wrestling Tournament in Struga, Yugoslavia.

A very active member of the Laramie Community, Dowler has served on the Laramie Jubilee Days Board of Directors for the past 10 years -- the last four years as General Chair.

Dowler and his wife, Glenda, have four children -- Joleen, Justin, Kori and Tammy -- and four grandchildren.