Throughout Dana Dimel's first year at Wyoming, he built a confidence among Cowboy players and fans that the Wyoming football program can compete against any team in the nation. Beginning with Dimel's first game as head coach, his Cowboys played with a sense of confidence that nearly carried them to victory over the then No. 9 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. With many young players filling key roles, the Pokes were on the verge of having a great season, but lost three games in the final minutes. Dimel's first squad posted an 8-5 record in a season that ran for 13 consecutive weeks -- the longest in school history.
Dimel was named head coach at UW on Dec. 7, 1996, as Wyoming Athletics Director Lee Moon announced Dimel as Wyoming's 28th head football coach. Dimel, now age 35 (Oct. 9, 1962), became the youngest head coach in NCAA Division IA football when he was hired, but he brought with him an impressive list of accomplishments in his relatively young career. As an assistant coach at Kansas State University for 10 seasons, he helped lead the Wildcats through their most successful era in school history. In fact, Sports Illustrated magazine has called Kansas State "the biggest turnaround in college football history."
"It's hard to explain how excited we are to attract an individual, and a football mind, of the caliber of Dana Dimel," said Moon. "There were a lot of head-coaching jobs out there and for us to hire an individual like Dana says a great deal for the respect the University of Wyoming has. Not only is Dana a great guy and an outstanding football coach, but he is an overachiever, and at Wyoming we love overachievers."
"Obviously, to receive an opportunity to coach a program as well respected as Wyoming is a great honor and a dream come true," Dimel said. "We want to make the people of Wyoming proud of the program and continue its positive direction. I want to create a family relationship among the Cowboy fans, the state of Wyoming, players and coaches. Hopefully, we will share the Cowboy successes together."
Every year during Dimel's time as offensive coordinator, the Kansas State offense had a 1,000-yard rusher and an all-conference quarterback. His offensive line blocked for two of K-State's 1,000-yard rushers -- Eric Gallon in 1991 and J.J. Smith in 1994. Smith went on to become Kansas State's all-time leading rusher, amassing 2,210 yards in his career.
Dimel brings with him a wide-open offensive style similar to the one Wyoming fans have been accustomed to over the past decade. "Kansas State runs an offense very similar to what Wyoming has been running," said Dimel. "We run a little more two-back, but basically we have a wide-open passing attack with a balanced running attack. At Kansas State we were known for defense, and we will certainly stress the defensive side of the ball."
In his first season, Dimel displayed his commitment to defense as the Cowboys ranked No. 2 in the nation in quarterback sacks, No. 6 in pass defense, No. 17 in scoring defense and No. 23 in total defense.
At KSU, Dimel also helped lead the Wildcats to the sixth-winningest home record in the nation during the 1990s and the third-best record among Big 12 teams over his last three seasons in Manhattan. During that period, season-ticket sales to Kansas State football games rose from 8,000 in 1989 to 34,000 in 1996 -- third best in the Big 12 Conference.
Over his last four seasons at K-State (1993-96), Dimel was part of a football program that:
Dimel earned his bachelor's degree in marketing from Kansas State in 1986. A native of Columbus, Ohio, he has one son, Winston, who was born on his father's birthday of Oct. 9, 1995.
Dana Dimel's College-Coaching Resume
University of WyomingSeason Overall WAC1997 8-5 4-4
Kansas State University1995-96 Offensive Coordinator / OL1993-94 Running-Game Coord. / OL1989-92 Offensive Line1987-88 Graduate Assistant
Bowl Game Experience1996 Cotton Bowl1995 Holiday Bowl1994 Aloha Bowl 1993 Copper Bowl
Final Top 25 RankingsSeason AP USA Today/CNN1996 17th 17th1995 7th 6th1994 19th 16th1993 20th 18th
Kansas State Results During Dimel's Time As An Assistant CoachSeason Overall Big 8/Big 121996 9- 3-0 6- 2-0 1995 10- 2-0 5- 2-0 1994 9- 3-0 5- 2-01993 9- 2-1 4- 2-11992 5- 6-0 2- 5-01991 7- 4-0 4- 3-01990 5- 6-0 2- 5-01989 1-10-0 0- 7-0Totals 55-36-1 28-28-1 (.603) (.500)Over his last four seasons at KSU: 37-10-1 20- 8-1 (.781) (.707)