LARAMIE – In a team meeting on Wednesday morning, the University of Wyoming Athletics Director Tom Burman introduced Jay Sawvel as the successor to retiring head coach Craig Bohl, starting a new era for the Wyoming Cowboys. This transition will officially take place following Wyoming’s bowl game against Toledo in the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl on Dec. 30, as Bohl announces his retirement after a 10-season tenure marked by historic achievements within the program.
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Burman Praises Sawvel’s Leadership and Defensive Expertise
Tom Burman, Athletics Director, expressed his confidence in Sawvel’s leadership, citing his exceptional work in building relationships with players and staff. Burman remarked, “Jay has done a masterful job in his time at Wyoming building strong relationships with players and staff. His defense embodies Wyoming’s culture in that we play physical, disciplined and with passion.”
Sawvel: A Seasoned Professional with a Vision for Success
Jay Sawvel, the 33rd coach in Wyoming history, previously serving as the team’s defensive coordinator and safeties coach since February 2020, brings a wealth of experience to his new role. A seasoned professional, Sawvel has been part of 21 teams that advanced to postseason play, including 14 bowl appearances and seven NCAA Playoff appearances. Burman emphasized Sawvel’s vision for the future, stating, “His vision on the future of Cowboy Football energized me, and I feel he will help us reach a Mountain West Championship in the near future.”
Sawvel’s Coaching Pedigree and Gratitude for Bohl’s Legacy
Having learned from renowned coaches such as Craig Bohl, Lou Holtz, Roy Kidd, and Jerry Kill, Sawvel acknowledged his excitement and honor in taking the helm. He expressed gratitude for his four years working under Coach Bohl, highlighting the solid infrastructure laid by Bohl, which fuels Sawvel’s enthusiasm for leading the program.
Defensive Excellence: Sawvel’s Impact on Wyoming’s Defense
Under Sawvel’s tutelage, the 2023 Cowboy defense has achieved notable success, ranking No. 17 in the nation in turnovers gained, sixth in fumble recoveries, and No. 2 in the Mountain West Conference in scoring defense. Key players like Easton Gibbs, Jordan Bertagnole, and Wyett Ekeler have demonstrated great performances, earning accolades and contributing to the team’s defensive success.
Wyoming’s Recent Football Achievements
Reflecting on Wyoming’s recent football achievements, the team’s 7-6 record in the 2022 season, finishing second in the Mountain West Conference Mountain Division, and earning a spot in the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl showcased the resilience of the fourth youngest team in the country. Notable victories against rivals and a fifth winning season in the past seven seasons underscored the team’s competitiveness.
Previous Seasons’ Defensive Prowess
Reviewing the defensive performance of previous seasons under Sawvel, Wyoming’s 2021 defense stood out as one of the top pass defenses in the nation, allowing the fewest passing yards in the Mountain West and ranking 12th nationally. The 2021 season concluded with a convincing bowl win. Linebacker Chad Muma’s individual achievements, including being a Butkus Award finalist and an NFL Draft pick, showcased the caliber of players developed under Sawvel’s guidance.
Sawvel’s Coaching Journey: From Wake Forest to Wyoming
Jay Sawvel’s coaching journey, marked by successful stints at Wake Forest and the University of Minnesota, reveals his ability to construct top-ranked defenses and develop players who have excelled at the professional level. His coaching tenure, which includes multiple seasons with NFL draft selections, underscores his impact on player development and defensive strategies.
Personal and Educational Background
Beyond coaching, Sawvel’s personal background and commitment to education stand out. A three-year letterwinner and All-Conference linebacker at Mount Union, he holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sports management. His coaching career commenced as a graduate assistant at Eastern Kentucky and continued with coaching roles at Notre Dame, Ferris State, and others.
Conclusion and Future Prospects
As Jay Sawvel takes the reins as the head coach of the Wyoming Cowboys, his extensive coaching pedigree, commitment to defensive excellence, and vision for the program’s future position him as a leader many hope to guide the team to new heights. The University of Wyoming anticipates continued success under Sawvel’s stewardship as the Wyoming Cowboys embark on an exciting chapter in their football legacy.