Junior Quarterback Brett Smith and Wide Receiver Unit Shine for Offense, Senior Defensive Back Marqueston Huff and Freshman Linebacker Lucas Wacha Standout for Defense
Football Fun Day, to Raise Money for 'Wyoming in Haiti Trip', Will Take Place Saturday Morning
Defense Wins Monday Morning Practice 50-45, Continues to Experiment With Players at Different Positions
Defense Intercepts Three Passes, and Returns Two for Touchdowns
Football Fun Day will be Saturday, April 27 prior to Spring Game
Media Days at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas - July 23-25
Wyoming vs. New Mexico (AP - 11/19/11)
Wyoming vs. Nebraska
Photos of the Wyoming football team's second scrimmage of the 2011 fall season.
Photos from Wyoming's game against Colorado State.
Dave Christensen enters his fourth season as head coach of the Wyoming Cowboys in 2012. His third season at Wyoming was his team's best, as he led Wyoming to a third-place finish in the Mountain West Conference and was named Mountain West Coach of the Year. He became the first Wyoming football coach to earn Coach of the Year honors since Joe Tiller in 1996.
Wyoming's third-place finish in the Mountain West in 2011 placed them behind only No. 13 ranked TCU and No. 6 ranked Boise State. His Cowboys ranked as the sixth most improved team in the nation in 2011, and they were the surprise team in the Mountain West, finishing third after being picked sixth in the conference's preseason poll. UW's 8-5 record was its first eight-win season since 1998. The Cowboys' third-place finish and 5-2 conference record matched Wyoming's best since becoming a member of the Mountain West in 1999.
The Cowboys' victories in 2011 included road wins over Mountain West rivals Colorado State, Air Force and San Diego State. The Pokes' win over CSU marked the third consecutive over the Rams. Wyoming hadn't won three in a row over Colorado State since 1987, `88 and `89, and hadn't won consecutive road games vs. CSU since 1996 and `98. By defeating both Air Force and Colorado State in 2011, the Pokes accomplished a sweep of their Front Range rivals for the first time since 1996.
The 2011 season concluded with Wyoming earning a bid to the Gildan New Mexico Bowl versus Temple. It was the second time in his three seasons as head coach that Christensen guided Wyoming to a bowl game. The last time that occurred at Wyoming was 1988-90.
The only conference teams to defeat UW in 2011 were nationally-ranked TCU and Boise State, who finished first and second in the MW, respectively. Christensen's 2011 team became his second in three seasons to win at least seven games. His 2009 Cowboy squad posted a 7-6 record.
On Jan. 12, 2012, it was announced that the University of Wyoming had signed Christensen to a new five-year contract that will run through Dec. 31, 2016. At the time of the announced extension, UW Athletics Director Tom Burman had this to say.
"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 (Tom) 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 (2011), 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."
You couldn't have asked for much more from a head coach in his first season. Christensen's first year as a college head coach in 2009 was filled with highlights. He led the Wyoming Cowboys to a bowl game in his first season, becoming only the second Cowboy head coach to accomplish that feat -- the other being Paul Roach in 1987. Christensen became the first UW head coach to win a bowl game in his first season, as his Pokes defeated Fresno State, 35-28 in double overtime, in the New Mexico Bowl. He also guided Wyoming to a road win over archrival Colorado State in the regular-season finale, bringing the Bronze Boot back to Laramie.
For a team that began the season picked to finish last (ninth) in the 2009 Mountain West Conference preseason poll, Christensen's Cowboys ended the season with a 7-6 overall record, a 4-4 league mark and a fifth-place finish in a league that had three teams end the season ranked among the Top 18 in both the Associated Press Media Poll and USA Today Coaches' Poll. And his team accomplished all this while playing a schedule that was ranked as the eighth toughest in the nation and included BCS national runner-up Texas.
While he delivered on his promise to the 2009 senior class that he would do everything he could to get them to a bowl game, he also built a team with an eye toward the future.
In his second season at UW, Christensen's young team faced one of the nation's most difficult schedules. Wyoming playing three teams that were ranked in the Top 5 in the nation at the time the Cowboys faced them (No. 3 Boise State, No. 4 Texas and No. 5 TCU) and played a fourth Top 10 ranked team in No. 10 Utah. Wyoming ended Christensen's second season on a high note, defeating archrival Colorado State, 44-0, in the season finale. Eight Cowboys earned All-Conference recognition at the conclusion of the season, and one of those All-Conference performers was free safety Chris Prosinski, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft (the 121st overall pick) by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Wyoming Football hired its dynamic and innovative new leader on Dec. 1, 2008, as University of Wyoming Athletics Director Tom Burman announced that Christensen, then the Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator at Missouri, had been selected as the new head coach of the Cowboys.
"We are thrilled to be able to attract a coach with the experience that Coach (Dave) Christensen brings to our program," said Burman at the time of Christensen's hiring. "He is one of the great offensive minds in college football, and he will bring a very exciting brand of football to Jonah Field.
"The plan he presented to us for building a comprehensive program was the best we heard in our search process. I am confident that he will put an outstanding coaching staff together, and that they will hit the ground running. With Dave leading Cowboy Football, I believe our program will make dramatic progress in the coming years and return to a position of prominence in the Mountain West Conference."
After serving as an assistant coach at the college level for 24 years, Christensen expressed the emotions he felt upon earning his first head-coaching position.
"I can't tell you how excited I am to be given the opportunity to lead the Wyoming Cowboy Football program," said Christensen. "The opportunity to become a head coach is something I've been preparing for my entire career.
"This is a great job at an outstanding university. Wyoming has a rich football tradition, and combined with the new, state-of-the art facilities, I know we can win here."
Christensen became the 31st coach in Wyoming Football history.
While the offensive coordinator at Missouri, 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.
In 2008, Mizzou ranked No. 4 in the NCAA in passing offense (330.4 yards per game), No. 6 in scoring offense (42.2 points per game) and No. 8 in total offense (484.1 yards per game). The Tigers concluded the 2008 season ranked No. 16 in the final USA Today Coaches' Poll, No. 19 in the final Associated Press Media Poll and were No. 21 in the final BCS Rankings entering the college bowl season. Missouri defeated Northwestern, 30-23 in overtime, in the 2008 Valero Alamo Bowl.
The 2007 season saw Missouri conclude the season ranked No. 4 in the final Associated Press ranking. That was the highest season-ending ranking in school history for the Tigers. Mizzou finished the season by defeating Arkansas, 38-7, in the Cotton Bowl, giving the Tigers a school record 12th win on the season. His 2007 offense ranked No. 5 in the nation in total offense (490.3 yards per game), No. 8 in scoring offense (39.9 points per game) and No. 9 in passing offense (314.1 yards per game).
Christensen served as an assistant coach under Gary Pinkel from 1992 to 2008 -- first at the University of Toledo from 1992-2000 and then at Missouri from 2001-08. Christensen was Pinkel's offensive coordinator from 1997-2008, and coached the offensive line for 17 seasons at Toledo and Missouri.
Beginning in 2005, Christensen devised and implemented one of college football's most exciting, no-huddle, spread offenses.
In 2007, Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy balloting, while Christensen's offense scored a school record 558 points, far surpassing the previous Missouri record of 399 points in a single season.
In addition to Daniel's fourth-place finish in the 2007 Heisman Trophy voting, Christensen's offensive unit had three other Tigers earn national honors that year. Senior tight end Martin Rucker and freshman wide receiver Jeremy Maclin were both Consensus First Team All-America selections, marking the first time in Missouri school history that it had two Consensus First Team All-Americans in the same season. Senior center Adam Spieker was named a finalist for the Rimington Award, which honors the nation's top offensive center each season. Spieker also earned Third Team All-America honors from Associated Press.
Three additional Tiger offensive linemen earned All-Big 12 honors in 2007, including Tyler Luellen (a Second Team selection), Colin Brown (Honorable Mention All-Big 12) and Kurtis Gregory (Honorable Mention All-Big 12).
His final season at Missouri, the Tigers once again had two Consensus First Team All-Americans in Maclin and tight end Chase Coffman. Coffman also was selected as the winner of the 2008 John Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end, while Maclin was a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, which honors the nation's top wide receiver. Joining Coffman and Maclin as All-Big 12 offensive performers in `08 were: running back Derrick Washington (Second Team); offensive lineman Gregory (Second Team); offensive lineman Tim Barnes (Honorable Mention); offensive lineman Brown (Honorable Mention); quarterback Daniel (Honorable Mention) and wide receiver Tommy Saunders (Honorable Mention).
The Tigers finished the 2006 season with the nation's No. 8 ranked offense, averaging 425.6 yards per game, and that included the nation's No. 10 ranked passing attack, at 276.2 yards an outing. Two of Christensen's linemen earned All-Big 12 honors, as senior tackle Joel Clinger earned First Team honors and Spieker was an Honorable Mention selection.
Christensen's offense underwent a major transformation to a spread, no-huddle attack in 2005, and was very successful in the first year running the new system. His attack, executed by record-setting quarterback Brad Smith, ended the 2005 season ranked in the top four in the Big 12, and in the Top 40 nationally in three major categories - rushing (205.3 yards per game - No. 3 in the Big 12 and No. 17 in the NCAA), total offense (429.8 ypg - No. 4 in the Big 12 and No. 24 in the nation) and scoring offense (30.8 points per game - No. 4 in the Big 12 and No. 34 in the country).
Despite going to battle each week with a young offensive line that featured just one senior starter, the offense jelled right away, as the Tigers rolled to 657 yards in the 2005 season opener against Arkansas State. That was just three yards shy of the school record. Three of Christensen's linemen won All-Big 12 honors in 2005, led by senior left guard Tony Palmer, who earned First Team league honors for the first time in his career. He was joined by sophomore center Spieker and junior right tackle Joel Clinger, who both won Honorable Mention acclaim. Palmer also earned Second Team All-Big 12 accolades in 2004, and eventually became a seventh-round draft pick in the 2006 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams.
In 2003, the Tiger rushing attack proved to be one of the most potent in the nation, as MU led the Big 12 Conference, and ranked sixth nationally with an average of 237.5 yards per game. That marked the first time since 1960 that MU won a conference rushing championship, when the Tigers led the old Big Eight with a mark of 249.3 yards per game. Its 3,087 rushing yards for the season ranked second in school history. Senior center A.J. Ricker and senior tackle Rob Droege each earned First Team All-Big 12 honors for their play in 2003, while sophomore guard Palmer earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12. Ricker and Droege both signed free agent contracts in the spring of 2004 with the Chicago Bears of the National Football League. Scott Paffrath signed a free agent deal with the Washington Redskins following the 2005 NFL Draft.
Under Christensen's guidance, Mizzou featured one of the most potent attacks in school history in 2002. The Tigers averaged 30.0 points per game, and the 360 points scored were the third-most in MU history at the time. Christensen's balanced run-pass attack turned redshirt freshman quarterback Brad Smith into one of the nation's most talked about players, as he became just the second player in NCAA Division I-A history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Mizzou's emphasis on a disciplined attack also produced an offense that led the nation in fewest turnovers, with just 11 offensive giveaways in 12 games.
In his final seven seasons at the University of Toledo, the Rockets' offense set or reset some 75 school records. During that period, the Rockets posted an undefeated and Mid-American Conference (MAC) championship season in 1995 and won three MAC West titles (1997, 1998 and 2000). They concluded the `95 campaign with a 40-37 overtime win over Nevada to capture the Las Vegas Bowl Championship. In 1999, Toledo was 10th in the country in rushing (239.2) and led the nation in yards per attempt (5.35).
Christensen coached center Andy McCollum while at Toledo. McCollum was a First Team All-MAC selection in 1992, and would later become the starting center for the St. Louis Rams of the NFL. Another Toledo lineman, Colin Westrich, was named Third Team All-American by the Sporting News in 1999.
Christensen came to Toledo from Idaho State University where he coached the offensive line, tight ends and running backs for two seasons (1990-91). Prior to his stint at Idaho State, he served two seasons as a graduate assistant offensive line coach under Don James at the University of Washington in 1988 and `89. Christensen also played football for the Huskies for three seasons from 1980-82.
Christensen earned a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from Western Washington in 1985 and a master of science degree in college instruction and sports science from Eastern Washington in 1988.
He is 51 years old, born Jan. 17, 1961. Christensen and his wife Susie have three children, Katie, D.J. and Emily.