Wyoming Cowboys football
2024 Wyoming Cowboys football team
First season1893
Athletic directorTom Burman
Head coachJay Sawvel
1st season, 0–0 (–)
StadiumWar Memorial Stadium
(capacity: 30,181)
Field surfaceArtificial turf
LocationLaramie, Wyoming
NCAA divisionDivision I FBS
ConferenceMountain West (1999–present)
DivisionMountain (2013–2019 and 2021–2022)
Past conferencesIndependent (1893–1909)
RMAC (1910–1937)
MSC (1938–1961)
WAC (1962–1998)
All-time record565–599–28 (.486)
Bowl record10–9 (.526)
Conference titles14
Division titles2
RivalriesColorado State (rivalry)
Utah State (rivalry)
Hawaii (rivalry)
Air Force (rivalry)
Consensus All-Americans4[1]
Current uniform
ColorsBrown and gold[2]
Fight songRagtime Cowboy Joe
MascotCowboy Joe
Marching bandWestern Thunder

The Wyoming Cowboys football program represents the University of Wyoming in college football. They compete in the Mountain West Conference of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of NCAA Division I and have won 14 conference titles. The head coach is Jay Sawvel who is entering his first season as head coach in 2024 after previously serving as the Wyoming Defense Coordinator for the previous four seasons.

The Cowboy football program has been among the most notable of "stepping stone" programs due to the success of its former coaches. Coaches such as Bowden Wyatt, Bob Devaney, Fred Akers, Pat Dye, Dennis Erickson and Joe Tiller were at Wyoming immediately prior to gaining notoriety at bigger football powerhouses.


See also: List of Wyoming Cowboys football seasons

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (September 2019)

Early years

After struggling for much of the first half of the century, Wyoming football rose to regional power status in the late 1940s. Between 1949 and 1961, the Cowboys won the Mountain States Conference championship seven times, including four in a row under coach Bob Devaney from 1958 to 1961. After joining the Western Athletic Conference in 1962, the program added three more championships from 1966 to 1968, led by coach Lloyd Eaton.

Black 14

In 1969, 14 black team members wore black armbands to a practice, intending to protest the alleged racism they had experienced at their last game with an upcoming opponent, BYU. [citation needed] Head coach Lloyd Eaton expelled them from the team, "triggering an uproar that consumed the rest of the football season and much of everything else in the tiny college town of Laramie, Wyoming."[who?][citation needed]

In 2018, filmmaker Darius Monroe released a documentary short about the athletes: Black 14. The short "uses only archival footage to tell the story, mostly from local ABC and NBC affiliates in Wyoming, letting the principals – from the students, to the coach, to the school president and even the state’s governor – speak for themselves."[3]

Conference affiliations


Conference championships

Wyoming has won 14 conference championships, ten outright and four shared.

Season Conference Coach Overall Record Conference Record
1949 Mountain States Conference Bowden Wyatt 9–1 5–0
1950 Mountain States Conference Bowden Wyatt 10–0 5–0
1956 Mountain States Conference Phil Dickens 10–0 7–0
1958 Mountain States Conference Bob Devaney 8–3 6–1
1959 Mountain States Conference Bob Devaney 9–1 7–0
1960 Mountain States Conference Bob Devaney 8–2 6–1
1961 Mountain States Conference Bob Devaney 6–1–2 5–0–1
1966 Western Athletic Conference Lloyd Eaton 10–1 5–0
1967 Western Athletic Conference Lloyd Eaton 10–1 5–0
1968 Western Athletic Conference Lloyd Eaton 7–3 6–1
1976 Western Athletic Conference Fred Akers 8–4 6–1
1987 Western Athletic Conference Paul Roach 10–3 8–0
1988 Western Athletic Conference Paul Roach 11–2 8–0
1993 Western Athletic Conference Joe Tiller 8–4 6–2

† Co-champion

Division championships

Wyoming won the Western Athletic Conference's Pacific division championship in 1996 and lost in the league's championship game. Wyoming shared the Mountain West's Mountain division championship in 2016 and lost in the league's championship game.

Season Division Coach Opponent CG result
1996 WAC – Pacific Joe Tiller BYU L 25–28 (OT)
2016 MW – Mountain Craig Bohl San Diego State L 24–27

† Co-champion

Head coaches

Tenure Coach Seasons Record Pct.
1893–1894, 1898 Fred Hess 3 4–4 .500
1894–1897, 1899 J.F. Soule 5 8–1–1 .850
1900–1906 William McMurray 7 16–11–1 .589
1907–1908 Robert Ehlman 2 3–3 .500
1909–1911 Harold I. Dean 3 11–12–1 .479
1912 L.C. Exelby 1 2–7 .222
1913–1914 Ralph W. Thacker 2 1–10 .091
1915–1923 John Corbett 7 15–44–3 .266
1924–1926 W.H. Dietz 4 14–18–2 .441
1927–1929 George McLaren 2 3–14 .176
1930–1932 John Rhodes 3 10–15–2 .407
1933–1938 Willard Witte 6 16–30–3 .357
1939 Joel Hunt 1 0–7–1 .063
1940 Okie Blanchard 1 1–7–1 .167
1941–1946 Bernard Oakes 3 6–20–2 .250
1947–1952 Bowden Wyatt 6 39–17–1 .693
1953–1956 Phil Dickens 4 29–11–1 .720
1957–1961 Bob Devaney 5 35–10–5 .750
1962–1970 Lloyd Eaton 9 57–33–2 .630
1971–1974 Fritz Shurmur 4 15–29 .341
1975–1976 Fred Akers 2 10–13 .435
1977–1979 Bill Lewis 3 14–20–1 .414
1980 Pat Dye 1 6–5 .545
1981–1985 Al Kincaid 5 29–29 .500
1986 Dennis Erickson 1 6–6 .500
1987–1990 Paul Roach 4 35–15 .700
1991–1996 Joe Tiller 6 39–30–1 .564
1997–1999 Dana Dimel 3 23–12 .657
2000–2002 Vic Koenning 3 5–29 .147
2003–2008 Joe Glenn 6 30–41 .423
2009–2013 Dave Christensen 5 27–35 .435
2014–2023 Craig Bohl 10 61–60 .504

Bowl games

Main article: List of Wyoming Cowboys bowl games

American football on the field with spectators in the stands.
Wyoming defeated UCLA in the 2004 Las Vegas Bowl to end their six bowl game losing streak.[4]

The Cowboys have appeared in 18 bowl games and have a record of nine wins and eight losses (9–9). Their most recent bowl appearance was a 30 - 27 overtime loss to Ohio in the 2022 Arizona Bowl. They will play the Toledo Rockets in the 2023 Arizona Bowl on December 30, 2023 for their 19th Bowl game.

Season Coach Bowl Opponent Result
1950 Bowden Wyatt Gator Bowl Washington & Lee W 20–7
1955 Phil Dickens Sun Bowl Texas Tech W 21–14
1958 Bob Devaney Sun Bowl Hardin-Simmons W 14–7
1966 Lloyd Eaton Sun Bowl Florida State W 28–20
1967 Lloyd Eaton Sugar Bowl LSU L 13–20
1976 Fred Akers Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma L 7–41
1987 Paul Roach Holiday Bowl Iowa L 19–20
1988 Paul Roach Holiday Bowl Oklahoma State L 14–62
1990 Paul Roach Copper Bowl California L 15–17
1993 Joe Tiller Copper Bowl Kansas State L 17–52
2004 Joe Glenn Las Vegas Bowl UCLA W 24–21
2009 Dave Christensen New Mexico Bowl Fresno State W 35–28 2OT
2011 Dave Christensen New Mexico Bowl Temple L 15–37
2016 Craig Bohl Poinsettia Bowl BYU L 21–24
2017 Craig Bohl Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Central Michigan W 37–14
2019 Craig Bohl Arizona Bowl Georgia State W 38–17
2021 Craig Bohl Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Kent State W 52–38
2022 Craig Bohl Arizona Bowl Ohio L 27–30 1OT
2023 Craig Bohl Arizona Bowl Toledo W 16–15


War Memorial Stadium before a game in 2015

War Memorial Stadium was built in 1950 with an original capacity of 20,000 fans; the current capacity is 29,181 after the completion of 2009-2010 stadium upgrades.[5]

It is the highest Division I FBS football stadium in the nation; the elevation of its playing field exceeds 7,200 feet (2,195 m) above sea level. The playing surface was natural grass until 2005, when infilled artificial turf was installed.

Prior to War Memorial Stadium, the Cowboys played at Corbett Field, a small field located southeast of Half Acre Gym where the Business Building and the Student Union parking lot now sit. It was named for John J. Corbett, longtime all-sport coach and director of physical education at the school. The field was the first official stadium for the Cowboys; previously they had played on Prexy's Pasture, the main green of the school.[6]


Colorado State

Main article: Border War (Colorado State–Wyoming rivalry)

The Bronze Boot is awarded to the winner of the college football game between Wyoming and Colorado State Rams in nearby Fort Collins, Colorado. Laramie and Fort Collins are only about 65 miles apart. The annual game has evolved into one of the most bitterly contested rivalries in college football. The teams have waged the "Border War" over 100 times since the schools began playing in 1899, playing every year except 1901, 1902, 1906, 1907, 1918, 1924, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1943, 1944, and 1945. This is one of the oldest interstate rivalries west of the Mississippi River. Until the 1949 game, CSU led the series 30-5-5. From the 1949 game onward, Wyoming has a record of 46-29 against the Rams. The series is the oldest rivalry for both schools and the Border War has been played in three different centuries.[7] CSU leads the series 59-51-5 as of 2023.[as of?]


Main article: Hawaii–Wyoming football rivalry

The Paniolo Trophy is awarded to the winner of the college football games played between Wyoming and Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football. This rivalry started in 1979 when Hawaii joined the Western Athletic Conference conference and was played annually until 1997, shortly before Wyoming joined the newly formed Mountain West Conference. Hawaii joined the MWC as a football–only affiliate member in 2012, renewing the rivalry. Wyoming leads the series 17–11 as of 2023.[as of?]

Utah State

Main article: Utah State–Wyoming football rivalry

Bridger's Battle is the name for the games played between Wyoming and Utah State, the winner of which is awarded the trophy of the rivalry, a .50 caliber Rocky Mountain Hawken rifle. The rivalry started in 1903, and renewed as an annual game in 2013 when Utah State joined the Mountain West Conference. However, with divisions going away in 2023, this streak of annual meetings ended. USU leads the series 40-28-4.

Other rivalries

Wyoming and Brigham Young have played each other 79 times, with BYU leading the series 46-30-3. BYU was arguably[editorializing] Wyoming's second biggest rival until BYU left the Mountain West to become an independent in 2011. Utah and Wyoming have played each other 85 times, which makes Utah Wyoming's most played opponent outside of Colorado State. Similar to the BYU series, the rivalry took a major blow when Utah left the MWC in 2010. UW's record against the Utes is 32-51-1 as of 2023.[as of?] New Mexico and Wyoming have played each other 76 times. The Lobos and Cowboys have faced off every year since 1949 except for a 4 year stretch from 1995–1998. UW holds the advantage over UNM 40-36 as of 2023.[as of?]

A matchup between Wyoming and Air Force in 2023

Air Force and Wyoming have played each other a total of 61 times as of 2023.[as of?] Their proximity has made them division rivals in multiple conferences. Two-time WAC Defensive Player of the Year Mitch Donahue once said “I hated them more than CSU. They were good, fast and little. They would bite at your heels all the time.”[This quote needs a citation] In 1998, #23 Air Force defeated number #25 Wyoming to win the WAC championship 10–7. In 2012 after Air Force defeated Wyoming, former Wyoming coach Dave Christensen went on a profanity-laced tirade about Air Force coach Troy Calhoun that drew national attention and a $50,000 fine for Christensen. This is a closely fought contest, with the Air Force Academy leading the all-time series 31-27-3 as of 2023.[as of?]

Notable players

Marv Levy
Adam Goldberg
Jay Novacek
Josh Allen

Honors and awards


Future non-conference opponents

Announced schedules as of July 20, 2023.[13]

2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032 2033
at Arizona State at Akron North Texas at Utah Idaho State California at Arizona at California Arizona
Idaho Cal Poly Northern Colorado Southern Utah Akron at UConn North Texas New Mexico State
BYU Utah at Central Michigan at North Texas at Texas Tech at UTEP
at North Texas at Colorado UConn Central Michigan UTEP


  1. ^ "NCAA Football Award Winners" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association. 2014. pp. 13–18. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  2. ^ University of Wyoming Athletics Style Guide (PDF). August 22, 2017. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  3. ^ Lartey, Jamiles (March 10, 2018). "Wyoming's Black 14 matter more than ever in post-Kaepernick America". The Guardian. Nearly 50 years after a group of black Wyoming football players were kicked off the team for even contemplating a protest, a new documentary gives their courage an overdue spotlight.
  4. ^ "Bramlett guides fourth-quarter comeback". ESPN.com. Associated Press. December 23, 2004. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  5. ^ "Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium". wyomingathletics.com.
  6. ^ "Films of UW Football and Basketball Games Now Accessible Online" County10.com, accessed September 3, 2015
  7. ^ Wyoming Athletics.com - Bronze Boot
  8. ^ a b c "University of Wyoming Official Athletic Site - Traditions". wyomingathletics.com. Archived from the original on May 14, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2009.
  9. ^ "Marv Levy named to Des Moines Sunday Register's Iowa Sports Hall of Fame". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved September 12, 2022.
  10. ^ "College Football Hall of Fame". www.collegefootball.org. Archived from the original on July 9, 2010.
  11. ^ "The Biletnikoff Award". Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  12. ^ "University of Wyoming Official Athletic Site - Traditions". cstv.com. Archived from the original on May 13, 2008. Retrieved May 18, 2009.
  13. ^ "Wyoming Cowboys Football Future Schedules". FBSchedules.com. Retrieved July 20, 2023.