Wyoming Cowboys head coach Craig Bohl announced his retirement Wednesday, bringing to an end an incredible coaching career. Bohl will depart the program following the Arizona Bowl, leaving Laramie with a long-lasting legacy both on the Cowboys and the landscape of college football in general.
Craig Bohl Leaving Wyoming
Bohl announced his retirement as the head coach of Cowboys football Wednesday. He closed the book on the end of 10 years of excellence for Wyoming football with a heartfelt and emotional statement that spoke to the influence the program has had on its head coach, and vice versa.
“Being the head football coach of the Wyoming Cowboys has been a privilege,” began Bohl in a surprise announcement.
“I felt like now was the time for me step away and entrust the program to new leadership. I want to thank all the young men who have worn the Brown and Gold over the past 10 years for their dedication and for their passion in representing this football program, this university and this state.”
“Many thanks to all the assistant coaches and staff who have helped build Wyoming football into a consistently winning program over this past decade,” Bohl continued, before praising athletic director Tom Burman and expressing his pride at being the head coach at a Wyoming program “that I have been proud to lead and that will always have a special place in my heart.”
The Nebraska native arrived in Laramie in 2014 and immediately began to build a lasting legacy. It was, in many respects, a perfect coach personality and program fit that is so difficult to find.
A former backup defensive back for the Cornhuskers, his exposure to the most physical forms of football throughout his playing and early coaching career acutely prepared him for the rugged mountainous terrain of Laramie and the rigors of Mountain West football.
It’s difficult to talk about Bohl’s long-lasting legacy in Laramie without talking about his list of unmatched successes. The retiring Wyoming head coach has etched his name across the program record book, ensuring the Cowboys have been at the forefront of Mountain West college football.
In an industry that counts wins and losses as the ultimate litmus test for success, Bohl led the Cowboys to six winning seasons during his 10-year tenure, the second most of any coach in Wyoming football program history, and in 2016 led the team to their first Mountain West Championship Game for 20 years.
No other Cowboys coach has led Wyoming to more bowl game appearances than Bohl. Of his six postseason games, the retiring head coach achieved victory in three, another program record that he will have the opportunity to extend when he leads the team into battle against Toledo in the Arizona Bowl.
Bohl’s defensive background has ensured that Wyoming has been a juggernaut on that side of the ball, leading the Mountain West in scoring defense in multiple seasons. Meanwhile, Laramie has become renowned for producing high-level linebackers under his leadership, with Logan Wilson and Chad Muma making the journey from the Cowboys to the NFL.
However, perhaps the greatest element of his legacy is making Laramie a fortress of football. A passionate brown and gold fan base has rallied behind Bohl and his team, helping the program go undefeated at home in three different seasons. The 2023 campaign saw a new single-season attendance record established, a testament to his impact.
“Craig has reflected the character of the state of Wyoming, and the football program he’s built is representative of the blue-collar nature of the people of Wyoming,” athletic director Burman enthused in a statement. “I am very thankful for all that Coach Bohl has accomplished and represented during his time as our head coach.”
While Bohl leaves a long-lasting legacy in Laramie, he has had a profound impact on college football as a whole. His fingers have touched success at every level of the sport, and his influence felt throughout multiple championship teams.
After spending several seasons at programs across the country, Bohl rose to prominence with his alma mater in the late 1990s. Originally beginning his coaching career as a general assistant in 1981, he returned to the Cornhuskers in 1995 and was the linebacker coach on two national championship-winning teams.
His success there, which saw him promoted to defensive coordinator in 2000, facilitated the next great stage of Bohl’s coaching career. In 2003, he was hired as the 32nd head coach of the North Dakota State Bison, a hugely successful DII program at the time that was leaping to the FCS level.
Bohl helped NDSU establish themselves as the powerhouse in FCS football. Leading the Bison to a first FCS title in 2011, his place in North Dakota State folklore was secured with a further two national titles, becoming the winningest coach in program history in the process.
While his place in the program history will be forever secure even after his depurate at the end of the 2013 season, North Dakota State remains within his heart, with Bohl thanking former North Dakota State AD Gene Taylor for “giving me my first opportunity to be a head coach 21 years ago” during his retirement speech.
Bohl remains in the heart of the Bison too.
Current North Dakota State head coach Matt Entz arrived at the program the year that the retiring coach began his tenure at Wyoming, so the two never worked together. Yet, Entz is acutely aware of Bohl’s impact on the program he leads, and college football in general.
“He has positively influenced and mentored thousands of student-athletes and hundreds of coaches,” Entz said Wednesday, via Inforum. “His impact to the game of football and the people surrounding it will be his ultimate legacy.”
Bohl retires with a 164-92 record as a college football head coach, with nine head coaching awards, and multiple national, conference, and division championships on his résumé.
However, his greatest achievement is the mark that he made on the people and places he touched throughout his career. Latterly, that was Laramie, where Bohl leaves a long-lasting legacy.