Wyoming Cowboys Head Football Coach Craig Bohl To Retire After Bowl Game

University of Wyoming head football coach Craig Bohl announced his retirement on Wednesday. His final game will be at the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl on Dec. 30 in Tucson. Defensive Coordinator Jay Sawvel will take over as the new head coach

Jake Nichols

December 06, 20233 min read

University of Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl.
University of Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl. (Getty Images)

If the Wyoming Cowboys couldn’t summon enough motivation to bring home a victory in their upcoming bowl game against Toledo, they have a lot more now.

Head football coach Craig Bohl announced his retirement at the end of the season Wednesday. Bohl’s final game will be this year's Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl on Dec. 30 in Tucson, Arizona.

"Being the head football coach of the Wyoming Cowboys has been a privilege," Bohl said in a prepared statement. "I felt like now was the time for me step away and entrust the program to new leadership.”

The university immediately tapped Defensive Coordinator Jay Sawvel as Bohl’s successor.

"Coach Bohl has been an outstanding ambassador for UW Athletics and has been a great mentor to our student-athletes," said Tom Burman, University of Wyoming athletics director. "When I hired Craig as head coach, we both said our goal was to return Cowboy football to a place of relevance in the Mountain West Conference and to be a consistently winning program. With coach's leadership, our football program has accomplished that.”

Out On A High

Bohl, 65, came to Laramie in 2014 after making a name for himself at North Dakota State, where he was head coach for 11 seasons.

Bohl's 10-year tenure leading the Pokes is the longest of any head football coach in school history. The coach steps away from the program with numerous achievements during his career in Brown and Gold.

During his decade at the helm, the Cowboys enjoyed one of the most successful sustained periods of winning, including more bowl victories (three) and more bowl appearances (six) than any coach in school history. Six of Bohl’s 10 seasons ended with a winning record.

Into The NFL

Coach Bohl also helped develop more players for the NFL than any Wyoming coach in history. Players that include Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills quarterback) and Logan Wilson (Cincinnati Bengals linebacker).

Bohl thanked all the players who have worn the Brown and Gold, as well as his coaching staffs throughout the years. He also acknowledged diehard fans that help make the program what it is.

"To the Wyoming fans, I know I speak for our players and our coaches in saying you've made War Memorial Stadium a special place on game days. Thank you for all your support through the years,” Bohl added.

The timing of the announcement is certainly purposeful. Rather than wait until after upcoming postseason play, Bohl and the university likely saw an opportunity to provide the Pokes with a little extra incentive against Toledo later this month.

"There's one more ballgame before I ride off as an old Cowboy,” Bohl said. “Let's ride for the brand one more time and get a win in Tucson. Go Pokes!"

Sawvel Will Become 33rd Head Coach

Coach Jay Sawvel, 52, appears a calculated hire from within.

While never a head coach, Sawvel’s work as the team’s defensive coordinator has helped craft a hard-working, tenacious defense that has come to personify Wyoming football in recent years.

"Jay has done a masterful job in his time at Wyoming building strong relationships with players and staff," Burman said. "His defense embodies Wyoming's culture in that we play physical, disciplined and with passion."

Sawvel took over the DC job in 2020 after serving as the team’s cornerbacks coach for three years. Prior to that, Sawvel coached defenses at Wake Forest and Minnesota.

Sawvel will become the 33rd head coach in the program’s history.

Jay Sawvel
Jay Sawvel (University of Wyoming Athletics)

Jake Nichols can be reached at jake@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Jake Nichols

Features Reporter