#120CowboyTough, 26 Days to Kickoff: Once-In-A-Lifetime Player

Aug. 6, 2013


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Once-In-A-Lifetime Player

For most defensive coordinators, a big-bodied tight end in the wishbone offense isn't a huge concern. But while the UW offense wasn't tailored specifically for him, Jay Novacek took his game to the next level to make an impact - and make those D-coordinators take notice.

He came to Wyoming after playing quarterback in high school in Gothenburg, Neb. Soon enough, his athletic ability was used in the passing game, but as a receiver. From 1982-84, the tight end tallied 83 receptions for 1,536 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had a superb year in 1984, with 33 catches for 745 yards and four scores. He averaged 22.6 yards per catch that season, the NCAA record for tight ends. That earned him Consensus All-America honors. He is one of only four Cowboys in program history to earn consensus AA honors. Those individuals receive First Team All-America honors from the majority of All-America teams that received nationwide circulation in a given year as determined by the NCAA.

Football wasn't the only sport in which he excelled. Novacek was an All-America honoree in the decathlon for the Wyoming track and field team in the same year. He still owns the UW all-time decathlon mark, racking up 7,762 points in the event in 1984 and winning the WAC title. He is fourth all-time in UW history in the pole vault, hitting 16 feet, 4 inches.

He went on to an illustrious 11-year NFL career, earning Pro Bowl honors five times and winning three Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys in the 1990s.

He was inducted into the Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame in 1993 in the inaugural class for being a two-sport All-America honoree. He was also a National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame inductee in 2008.

About the #120CowboyTough Countdown

The 2013 season will mark the 120th anniversary of Wyoming Cowboy Football. To commemorate that anniversary, we will be counting down some of the great memories and moments from Wyoming football history over the next eight weeks leading up to the Cowboys' season opener at Nebraska on Aug. 31.

The 2013 "Countdown to Kickoff" will take Wyoming fans through Cowboy Football history chronologically. The first week will highlight some of the memorable moments from the period from the first season in 1893 through the 1940s. Then each successive week, the countdown will recall great moments from the 1950s, `60s, 70s, 80, 90s, 2000s and the current decade.

Our countdown will only touch on some of the greatest moments, but we encourage you, the Wyoming fans, to share your favorite memories through the official University of Wyoming Athletics Twitter (@wyoathletics) and Facebook pages (Wyoming Cowboys). Fans are encouraged to use #120CowboyTough when sharing their memories.

Enjoy the countdown, and we look forward to seeing you in War Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 7 for the home opener versus the Idaho Vandals.