Jan. 12, 2012
Laramie, Wyo. - University of Wyoming Athletics Director Tom Burman announced on Thursday the details of a new five-year contract for head football coach Dave Christensen. UW and Christensen had come to an agreement in principle on the five-year contract in mid-December. The contract is being officially announced at this time as it has been completed and signed by all parties.
Christensen's new five-year deal will include total compensation of $1.2 million per year, with a base salary of $190,008 per year. The new contract will run through Dec. 31, 2016. Aside from the increase to the base salary, which was $180,000 in Christensen's previous contract, the balance of the contract will be supported by non-state resources.
Christensen was named the 2011 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Cowboys to an 8-5 record and a third-place finish in the Mountain West, with a 5-2 conference mark.
In Christensen's three years at Wyoming, he has guided two of his three teams to bowl games (the 2009 and 2011 New Mexico Bowls). The last time that occurred at Wyoming was the three-year period from 1988-90. Wyoming also ranked among the Top Five most improved teams in the nation in 2011.
"This is a big step for Wyoming Athletics and it allows us to maintain continuity in the leadership position of Cowboy Football," said Burman. "This could not have occurred without the great support of ticket buyers, sponsors and donors to UW. We have seen dramatic growth in ticket sales and annual giving to the Cowboy Joe Club in recent years, and this allowed us to dig deeper than many thought we could in an effort to keep a coach who was in demand.
"We're excited to keep Dave (Christensen) in place to lead a football team that will return a number of talented young players next year. We feel this positions us to be one of the premier programs in the Mountain West moving forward."
"I appreciate the commitment that Tom Burman, President Buchanan, the UW Administration and Cowboy fans have made to me and our football program," said Christensen. "We wanted to stay here and continue to build Wyoming Football into one of the leading programs in the Mountain West, and this new contract will allow us to continue those efforts.
"My staff has worked extremely hard to build this program the right way. We feel like we took a big step forward this season, finishing third in the conference behind only TCU and Boise State and earning our second bowl bid in three years. We're very excited about the future of our program, and with the support of Wyoming fans we feel like we can continue to grow and reach new heights."
Christensen became the first Wyoming head coach to earn Coach of the Year honors since Joe Tiller in 1996, and also became the first Cowboy head coach to be named Coach of the Year since Wyoming joined the Mountain West in 1999.
Christensen's three Wyoming teams became the first to defeat archrival Colorado State in three consecutive seasons since 1987, `88 and `89 under head coach Paul Roach.
Originally hired as head coach at Wyoming on Dec. 1, 2008, Christensen's original contract was for five years, and was extended for one year following the 2009 season. It was due to expire Dec. 31, 2014.
Christensen came to Wyoming after serving as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Missouri, where he coached from 2001-08. Christensen was named the 2007 National Offensive Coordinator of the Year by Rivals.com and was also runner-up for the 2007 Frank Broyles Award, which honors the top assistant coach in the nation each season.
He helped lead the Missouri Tigers to the Big 12 Championship game in both the 2007 and 2008 seasons as champions of the Big 12 North. The 2007 season saw Missouri conclude the season ranked No. 4 in the final Associated Press ranking, which remains the highest season-ending ranking in school history.
Christensen will turn 51 next week (born Jan. 17, 1961). He and his wife Susie have three children, Katie, D.J. and Emily.