The University of Wyoming announced on Sunday afternoon that they have fired head football coach Dave Christensen.
The announcement comes one day after the Cowboys’ season ended with a 35-7 loss at Utah State. The Cowboys finished the season with a record of 5-7 after starting out 4-2. This was Christensen’s second straight losing season and his third in four years, results that Athletic Director Tom Burman could no longer ignore.
“We have come to a point where our football program has not achieved at the level of success that we expect, and we know from past experience that we can be successful,” Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman said in a release. “It is with that in mind that we move forward in search of a new leader for Cowboy Football.
Christensen signed a five-year contract worth $1.2 million annually after the 2011 season. He had three years left on that contract. Wyoming will pay him his base salary of $190,008 for the remaining three years of his contract for a total of $570,024. The buyout will be paid with non-state dollars, Burman said.
Christensen, who took over for Joe Glenn in 2009, accumulated a record of 27-35 in his five seasons at Wyoming. He was 16-23 in Mountain West play, and only 5-27 against teams that finished with a winning record, including0-14 against ranked opponents. He led the Cowboys to the 2009 and 2011 New Mexico Bowl, winning in 2009. He was the Mountain West Coach of the Year in 2011.
It doesn’t appear that Christensen will be out of work for long, his name is already flying around the rumor mill as a possible offensive coordinator for high caliber teams. He certainly brought a high-powered offense to Laramie and is a proven offensive coordinator with his work at Toledo and Missouri.
As for Wyoming, they enter yet another off-season where there are more questions than answers. Burman said that a national search for Christensen’s replacement will begin immediately, although he didn’t specify any names or style of coach he would be looking for. Burman, whose job seems to be on thin ice, needs to hit a homerun with this hire and he seems adamant that Wyoming can be competitive in the Mountain West.
“Wyoming Football has been successful at many periods in our history,” Burman said. “When you combine that great tradition with the investment we’ve made in developing outstanding football facilities that are among the best not only in our conference but in the West, we believe that we can achieve great success again.”
It’s your move Burman, put your money where mouth is.