Can Wyoming Cowboys football go “Bohling” for a school record third straight season?
That term grew popular around Laramie during the era of Craig Bohl. He has guided the program to their most bowl appearances. Now, he and his coaching staff will aim to continue their bowl streak, as well as pursue a Mountain West Conference title. Here’s who comprises the 2023 staff.
Wyoming Cowboys Coaching Staff 2023
Head Coach, Craig Bohl
Bohl first made the jump to Wyoming following an immensely successful run at North Dakota State, where he went an astonishing 104-32 overall and won three straight Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) national titles.
Now, he’s the longest-tenured head coach in Wyoming history as he enters season 10, breaking the previous mark held by Lloyd Eaton, who spent nine seasons at Laramie. Bohl is additionally in the school record books for producing the most bowl teams at WYO with five appearances.
Outside of building a model of consistency in the MWC, Bohl has also helped create a rare NFL pipeline in the state’s fourth-largest city. His most recent pro prospect was 2022 third-round linebacker for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Chad Muma. Logan Wilson and Cassh Maluia were two other ‘backers who got drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots, respectively, in 2020.
Of course, Bohl’s most prized finding was a then-underrecruited quarterback named Josh Allen, who’s now the franchise quarterback and one of the faces of the league for the Buffalo Bills.
Bohl, though, has one thing glaringly missing from his resume: the MWC title. He’ll also look to surpass the eight-win ceiling he’s had with the rest of his coaching crew.
Passing Game Coordinator and Wide Receivers Coach, Mike Grant
Grant is one of the longest-tenured assistants under Bohl, having been with WYO since 2016. However, he was elevated to associate head coach in 2022 and holds that title alongside his other two roles.
One of Grant’s past pupils was Isaiah Neyor, who led the conference with 12 touchdown catches in 2021. He also coached Tanner Gentry and Jake Maulhardt in his first season with the Cowboys, who went on to sign free agent deals with the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints, respectively.
His other stops include North Texas (2011-2015), Western Michigan (2008-2010), Southern Miss (2007), and his previous longest tenure was with Iowa State (2000-2006).
Defensive Run Game Coordinator and Defensive Tackles Coach, Oscar Giles
Giles, like Bohl, is a past national champion. While Bohl owns national titles with both North Dakota State and Nebraska (was on the 1995 and 1997 Cornhuskers’ staff), Giles earned his ring with the 2005 Texas Longhorns.
Giles is known as a mastermind in developing interior defenders and recruiting elite pass rushers. One of his players was four-time Pro Bowler Brian Orakpo during his Longhorn days. Charles Omenihu of the Kansas City Chiefs (fifth round, 2019 draft to the Houston Texans) and Jordan Elliott of the Cleveland Browns (third round, 2020 draft) are two of Giles’ more recent NFL players from Texas.
Giles additionally puts his stamp on the Lone Star State on the recruiting trail for the ‘Pokes.
Now, Giles has Jordan Bertagnole as his next potential NFL prospect following a stellar season of snatching 51 total tackles with 7.5 for a loss and 5.5 sacks last season. He was named a First-Team All-MWC selection ahead of the season by Athlon Sports.
Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach, Tim Polasek
Polasek enters his third season running the Wyoming offense while also coaching the QBs.
Last season’s offense ranked ninth overall in the MWC, averaging 313.6 yards per game. However, the Cowboys, under Polasek, have ranked in the top three in rushing offense in the past two seasons, finishing at No. 2 and No. 3 in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
Polasek worked with dual-threat Andrew Peasley at quarterback last season, who accumulated 1,913 yards and 12 touchdowns. Polasek also specializes in offensive line play, having spent 2017 to 2020 with the University of Iowa, which featured future two-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl winner Tristan Wirfs with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Defensive Coordinator and Safeties Coach, Jay Sawvel
Sawvel is entering his fourth season with Wyoming, bringing nearly three decades of coaching experience, including stints as a DC in the Power 5 conferences.
Before joining the Cowboys, Sawvel served as the defensive coordinator at the University of Minnesota in 2016 and at Wake Forest from 2017 to 2018.
As the Cowboys’ DC, Sawvel played a role in the development of Muma, who became a day two pick in the 2022 draft. His 2022 defense ranked sixth in scoring defense among MWC teams.
One of his previous stops was at Northern Illinois, where he coached Jimmie Ward, a future NFC champion safety and San Francisco 49ers captain who is now with the Houston Texans.
Linebackers Coach, Aaron Bohl
Bohl has been with the Cowboys, alongside his father, since 2020. He began his coaching career at Wyoming in 2017 as a graduate assistant. Muma, Wilson, and Maluia were three players he coached in his position group.
Co-Special Teams Coordinator and Cornerbacks Coach, Benny Boyd
Boyd has been with Wyoming since 2020. In 2021, his defenders contributed to the conference’s best passing defense, allowing just 189.8 yards per game. However, the pass defense dropped to eighth place last year. Prior to Wyoming, Boyd held the same positions at Eastern Illinois of the FCS in 2019.
Director of Recruiting and Running Backs Coach, Gordie Haug
Haug is the longest-tenured assistant on the Wyoming staff, having been with Bohl since 2014. As a recruiter, he has earned praise for helping lure in notable names like Allen, Muma, 2017 draft pick Brian Hill, and coaching the conference’s leading rusher in 2019 and 2020, Xazavian Valladay.
Defensive Ends Coach, Brian Hendricks
Hendricks is the newcomer to the staff, officially hired in February. However, he is no stranger to Cowboys football. Wyoming fans likely remember his dominance as a three-time MWC selection from 2008-2011 when he played linebacker for the ‘Pokes. He previously coached at Illinois State and Montana.
Co-Special Teams Coordinator and Fullbacks/Tight End Coach, Shannon Moore
Moore has been with Wyoming since 2019 and has overseen two pivotal blocking positions for the Cowboys. His group has been instrumental in clearing the way for one of the conference’s top ground games. Moore previously coached at East Carolina, Florida International, and South Dakota State. At the latter, he had the opportunity to coach quarterbacks for a season in 2009.
Offensive Line Coach, Joe Tripodi
Tripodi is entering his second year in Laramie, replacing Derek Frazier, who joined the Bengals’ staff in February 2022. Tripodi’s unit carries significant responsibility in turning Wyoming into a high-powered rushing attack. Additionally, Tripodi’s coaching has led to a stout pass protection that surrendered just 19 sacks last season.
He previously coached at Temple, where he helped develop Matt Hennessy into a 2019 Rimington Trophy award finalist (honoring the nation’s best center) and a third-round draft pick for the Atlanta Falcons.