Cowboy Football Two-A-Days: #11 and #61

Aug. 21, 2012

Laramie, Wyo. -


Jim Walden


Jim Walden transferred to Wyoming from Itawamba (Miss.) Junior College prior to the 1958 season and immediately became a crowd favorite. Nicknamed the "Mississippi Gambler", Walden led the Cowboys to back-to-back Skyline Conference championships. Known for his "passing, running, punting and sparkling leadership", according to the 1960 Wyoming media guide, Walden was a dynamic player who could turn nothing into something. In 1958, Wyoming was 8-3 and won the Sun Bowl over Hardin-Simmons. Walden was second team all-conference and made several all-opponent teams. He led the Cowboys in passing with 491 yards and five touchdowns, and in punting with 20 punts for 801 yards (40.1 yard average). In 1959, the Cowboys finished with a 9-1 record. Walden earned Honorable Mention All-America honors and was voted the player of the year in the Skyline Conference. He set a conference career record for average gain per play (6.57). He ranked 13th nationally and 1st in the conference in total offense with 1211 yards. He again led the Cowboys in passing with 882 yards and 11 touchdowns and in punting with 35 punts for 1291 yards (37.0 yard average). He ranked 2nd in the conference in passing and 5th in punting. He set Wyoming records for most touchdown passes (11) and average gain per play (7.0) in 1959. He was chosen to play in the Shrine East-West all-star game after the season, where he split quarterback duties with SMU's Don Meredith. Walden was drafted by the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League and by the Denver Broncos of the American Football League, but he elected to play for Vancouver of the Canadian Football League. He played three years in the CFL before starting his coaching career at the high school level in his native Mississippi.


Chuck Lamson


A star on both offense and defense, Chuck Lamson led the Cowboys to conference championships in both 1960 and 1961, earning honorable mention All-America honors both years. A native of Ames, Iowa, Lamson began his collegiate career at Iowa State before transferring to Wyoming, where he played quarterback as well as defensive safety. In 1960, Lamson led the Cowboys in total offense and passing and was 2nd in rushing behind Jerry Hill, gaining 543 yards for an average of 5.5 yards per carry, completing 20 of 42 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns, punting three times for an average of 30.7, returning one kickoff for 16 yards and one punt for 17 yards. As a defensive safety, Lamson had two interceptions for a Cowboy defensive unit which ranked first nationally in rushing defense and total defense. A unanimous all-conference selection, Lamson ranked 36th nationally in rushing, while ranking 4th in the conference in total offense, 5th in rushing, and 7th in passing. In 1961, Lamson was named "Back of the Week" by Sports Illustrated after guiding the Cowboys to a 15-14 upset win over North Carolina State and star quarterback Roman Gabriel. That year, he led the team in rushing with 93 carries for 451 yards (an avg. of 4.8 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. He also led the team in scoring, threw for 172 yards passing and two touchdowns, as well as one punt return, one kickoff return, and one interception on defense. The Cowboys compiled a record of 14-3-2 with Lamson at quarterback. The captain of the 1961 team, Lamson was honored as UW's best student-athlete in 1962 as the winner of the Admiral Land Award. He was drafted in 1960 by the Minnesota Vikings and played professionally as a defensive back for the Vikings (1962-63), the Philadelphia Eagles (1964), and the Los Angeles Rams (1965-68).


Randy Welniak
1985-86, 1988


Randy Welniak, a native of Ord, Neb., became one of the most decorated quarterbacks in Wyoming history. Told he might never play quarterback again after shoulder surgery, Welniak earned Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year honors in 1988. As a co-captain that season he directed the Cowboys to an 11-2 record, most wins in school history, a WAC title, and a trip to the Holiday Bowl. In Wyoming's biggest victory that season and one of its most amazing ever-a 48-45 win at Air Force-Welniak rallied the Cowboys from a 21-point deficit entering the fourth quarter to outscore the Falcons 31-7. He finished with a school-record 467 yards of total offense. In that game he became only the third quarterback in NCAA history to gain 300 yards passing (359) and 100 yards rushing (108) in a single game. The "Wizard of Ord" was selected as an All-American in `88. He still ranks among Wyoming's Top Ten in career passing yards (3,819) and career rushing touchdowns (17). A two-time Academic All-WAC first-team selection, he was awarded NCAA, Stan Bates (WAC Commissioner) and Patrick Smyth Post-Graduate Scholarships. He was the Admiral Land Award winner as UW's top student-athlete in 1989. Welniak earned his bachelors of science in finance from Wyoming in 1988, and a masters of business administration from UW in 1989. Welniak returned to his alma mater in the mid-1990′s as an administrator, first with the Cowboy Joe Club, and then as an Associate Athletics Director.

Current Cowboy to Wear #11:

Colby Kirkegaard
6-3 / 205
Phoenix CC
Phoenix, Ariz.