Vic Koenning Named Wyoming's 29th Head Football Coach

Dec. 13, 1999


Vic Koenning, the man who broughtback Wyoming's defensive tradition to the program, has been named theCowboys' 29th head football coach, Wyoming Athletics Director William LeeMoon, Sr., announced Monday.

For the past three seasons Koenning, (Cone-ing), 39 (born Feb. 26,1960), has been Wyoming's defensive coordinator and inside linebackerscoach. His defense has been the cornerstone of the Cowboy program sincehis arrival.

According to Moon, Koenning's contract is for five-years with abuyout clause. He will receive a base salary of $100,200, Moon said. Thetotal package, including incentives, will be $240,000, according to theathletics director.

"I always have a short list of candidates, and my list started athome," Moon said. "I couldn't be more excited. I always want a coach withtremendous work ethic, who can motivate and communicate with thestudent-athletes. Vic fits that criteria. He also wants to be here. Ifelt the cornerstone of Dana Dimel's tenure has been the defense. Since Vichas been here, Wyoming has played hard-nosed, physical defense. It has beenthe most consistent aspect of our football program.

"I want to thank Dana for what he did for our program, and wish himthe best," Moon continued. "There is still work left to be done. Theprogram has plenty of room to grow, and I believe Vic can get that done forus."

A native of Owasso, Okla., Koenning came to Wyoming from theUniversity of Memphis where he served as the defensive secondary coach forsix seasons (1991-96). He spent 10 seasons there in a variety ofroles--graduate assistant, strength and conditioning coach for football andas an assistant.

A 1982 graduate of Kansas State, Koenning was a four-year starter atlinebacker, and was twice named to the All-Big Eight Team. In addition, heserved as captain of the Wildcats' Independence Bowl team in 1982.

"This is a dream come true for me," Koenning said. "I was offered agreat opportunity to go to Houston, but I wanted to be here. I wanted thisopportunity in this place. Football has been my life. I've been trainingfor this. I have had the good fortune to have played for and coached withtremendous coaches, coaches with great backgrounds. I have learned fromoutstanding people, and I'm looking forward to my opportunity.

"We feel fortunate to have retained Matt Wallerstedt (Cowboydefensive line coach for the past three seasons). He too was offered a greatopportunity at Houston, but he wanted to remain here. So we have won ourfirst recruiting battle. We hope to have the remainder of our staff inplace by the end of the week.

"To the players in the program, I want them to have the opportunityto reap the rewards they deserve for all of their hard work. To those onthe offense, I feel for them the way things have transpired. But we willgive them an offense that can be highly productive and fun to run. We willspread the field by formation and personnel groupings. We will not beafraid to put our hand in the dirt, fire out and hit somebody in the nose.We will be intense, and we will be in top condition."

In Koenning's first season as Cowboy defensive coordinator, hisaggressive defense was among the most improved in the nation. The Pokesranked second in the nation in quarterback sacks, sixth in pass defense,17th in scoring defense and 23rd in total defense. They also set a schoolrecord for interceptions with 24. In 1998, his defense was again among thenation's leaders, ranking 28th in the country in scoring defense.

This past season, the Cowboy defense was instrumental in victoriesover Air Force, Utah and Brigham Young. The defense limited the nation'snumber-two ranked rushing team Air Force to one touchdown and the country'snumber eight passing team Brigham Young to two touchdowns. Wyoming alsoscored a defensive touchdown and a safety in the victory over bowl-boundUtah.

Among the players who Koenning has coached at Wyoming are 1997Consensus All-American Brian Lee at free safety. All total, four Cowboydefenders have earned First Team All-Conference honors and seven have beennamed Second Team All-Conference during his three seasons at Wyoming. TheCowboy defense also has had three Academic All-Americans and a SportingNews Freshman All-American.

An outstanding recruiter, Koenning has been responsible for bringingto Wyoming such players as linebacker Cortney Barnes, defensive end PatrickChukwurah, cornerback Chris Cole, linebackers Antwan Floyd, Marcus Ford, TimGlynn and Adrian Hill and defensive end Brandon Jones.

Koenning played professionally for the Denver Broncos in 1984, andthen signed with the Oklahoma Outlaws of the USFL. He played two seasonswith the Outlaws, finishing first on the team in tackles his first seasonand second the following season. After a stint with the Green Bay Packersin 1986, Koenning retired from professional football and entered thecoaching profession. Koenning signed with Kansas State University followingan outstanding prep career in football, basketball and track at Owasso HighSchool.

Koenning is married to the former Tracey Templeton, and has twochildren, Kimberly and Brady.