Wyoming has been enjoying a fantastic 2011 athletically since September. The success and wins have been great but the downside is that those achievements brings attention from larger schools that are looking for new coaches or upgrading their program.
After earning Mountain West Coach of the Year Dave Christensen was offered the head coach position at the University of Houston. It also included a $500,000 a year raise. Luckily Wyoming was able to get Christensen signed to a five year extension and keep the Cowboys heading in the right direction.
Danny Sanchez lead the Wyoming women's soccer team to the conference championship game and was named Mountain West Coach of the Year. The Cowgirls finished with a record of 12-6-4 which was their best ever. That tremendous growth drew the interest of Colorado and yesterday Sanchez was named the new head coach of the Buffs.
The football team has already lost one assistant coach with secondary coach Alex Grinch taking the same position at Missouri. Grinch had done a great job with Chris Prosinksi who was drafted in the fourth round last year. He also was the recruiting coordinator for the Cowboys and handled recruiting in Dallas and North Texas. Grinch was former GA at Mizzou in 2003 and 2004.
Another Wyoming assistant coach may be heading elsewhere. The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that new Illinois head coach Tim Bechkam is looking lure Wyoming OC Gregg Brandon to the same position with the Illini. Beckham and Brandon both worked together at Bowling Green under Urban Meyer.
The loss of Brandon would certainly be a big loss for the Cowboys who averaged 26.1 points per game this season and 388 yards of offense in his first year. In 2010 Wyoming averaged less then 20 points per game and just 285 yards of offense. As part of his new contract Christensen was given an extra $100,000 to help with assistant coaches. Will any of that be enough to keep Brandon in Laramie? It will be really tough to keep Brandon from accepting a Big 10 position but he certainly has a good thing happening here in Laramie. If Christensen were to leave in the future I could certainly see Brandon being a strong candidate to replace him.
ESPN's Big 10 blog wrote this morning that Brandon will not be the OC at Illinois. Let's hope that news is correct and he will be staying at Wyoming.
There has been plenty of speculation among fans if Christensen would make any changes to his staff other then the coaches who are leaving for other schools. There haven't been any comments by Christensen that defensive coordinator Marty English was in a position to lose his job but that unit hasn't really excelled under hisguidance the past three years. He is also the one coach that is left from the Joe Glenn era.
In the three years that English has been defensive coordinator the Cowboys have allowed: 27.3, 30.3 and 27.8 points per game. The entire starting defensive line did graduate after the 2009 season and the team switched to a 4-3 starting in 2010. English has been at UW for nine seasons and has plenty of recruiting connections in Colorado.
The Wyoming offensive line showed great improvement this year and allowed just 12 sacks. It will interesting to see if any schools take interest in Jim Harding or Pete Kaligis. Currently they haven't been mentioned for an open positions but that can take some time as jobs open up with a trickle down effect as new coaches build their staff.