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University Public Relations
1000 E University Ave
Dept. 3226, Bureau of Mines
Laramie, WY 82071

UW Profiles

Team Building

UW Head Football Coach Craig Bohl is impressed with Wyoming’s support for its university.

By Patrick Wolfinbarger

When Craig Bohl became the 32nd head football coach at the University of Wyoming in December 2013, he was familiar with the Cowboy legacy left by legendary coaches such as Bowden Wyatt, Phil Dickens, Bob Devaney and Paul Roach. After creating a legacy of his own in 11 seasons as head coach of North Dakota State University—including three straight NCAA Football Championship Subdivision titles—Bohl was ready to meet the challenge of taking UW to the top of the Mountain West.

Bohl played football at the University of Nebraska from 1977–79 and earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1982. The 2014 season is his 34th year coaching at the college level—12 years as a head coach, 19 as a full-time assistant coach and three seasons as a graduate assistant.

Since coming to UW, Bohl has made it a priority to travel the state and meet with fans. He stresses that X’s and O’s aren’t the only things that lead to a successful program.

Biggest surprise: “I did not comprehend the reality of how being the only four-year institution in the state galvanizes the whole state and how much pride there is in the university,” Bohl says. “And, along with that, just how much interest there is in Cowboy football. I had high expectations, but that exceeded my expectations.”

Academics first: A small percentage of players ever make it to the pros, Bohl notes, which makes academics an even more important selling point to students.

He says athletics provide experience for academic and career success. “Student-athletes are given a unique opportunity to manage their time because their time is more limited and, within that, to be more disciplined.

“It’s critical that faculty really get to know what our value systems are from a football perspective,” Bohl continues. “It’s important for our faculty … to recognize that these (players) are students, and we’re all in the process of educating them, all on one page.” He adds there are coaches who may believe that they’ve only been hired to coach football and that engagement with the faculty is not important to their success. “Quite frankly, it’s the exact opposite.”

Expectations for fans: Bohl understands fans expect him to turn the football program into a contender, but he also has expectations for Cowboy fans. “I hope fans recognize there is no quick fix,” Bohl says. “It takes four to five years to really build a football program. It’s important for our message that we will have a football team that reflects the values of the culture and the citizens of Wyoming. People of Wyoming are resilient, work hard and have a great value system. We’re going to have the same type of football team. We’re going to build a program right, where you go by the rules, where you’re going to value education, where you’re going to make progress not by the quick fix. Competitive excellence is important, but the pathway to that competitive excellence is critical.”

“Those Who Stay Will Be Champions” reads a placard in the locker room. Bohl sees it as a motto for the fans as well. “It’s been heartwarming for me to meet fans who have had tickets since the 1970s who have come to War Memorial Stadium and are starving for us to be successful. To our fans, it means ‘hang in there with us.’ If you stay, we will be champions.”

Head Football Coach Craig Bohl

Craig Bohl Posing with a UW Football
“People of Wyoming are resilient, work hard and have a great value system," Craig Bohl says. "We’re going to have the same type of football team."

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University Public Relations
1000 E University Ave
Dept. 3226, Bureau of Mines
Laramie, WY 82071

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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