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LARAMIE (AP) — A day after firing head coach Dave Christensen, Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman says the school’s football team needs to develop a “culture of toughness.”
“(We want to) build a program that will have a reputation of being very physical, tough (so that) coming to War Memorial Stadium is a challenging Saturday afternoon,” Burman said Monday. “The one thing I believe that we’ve gotten away from is being a physical football team.”
Burman fired Christensen on Sunday after the end of the Cowboys’ disappointing 5-7 season. Christensen had been coach for five years.
Burman said the team lived up to its “Cowboy Tough” motto under Christensen at one point but lost that culture over the past two seasons, the Laramie Boomerang reported.
Burman doesn’t plan to hire a search firm to find a new coach as he did before hiring both Christensen and men’s basketball coach Larry Shyatt. He also said he’ll likely go interview candidates where they are, rather than bringing them to Laramie.
“We’re going to go after the best people in the business, but I can’t spend too much time chasing them,” he said. “I’ve got to get a coach and get him hired and get this thing moving forward in the next few weeks.”
A consulting firm hired to study UW athletics this year recently concluded that coaching salaries, especially for assistants, were far below the rest of the Mountain West.
Christensen’s contract paid a base salary of $190,000 and incentives that totaled $1.2 million. But only the $190,000 was guaranteed, a total Burman said may be the lowest in the Mountain West.
Burman said he hopes to improve salaries with this hire.
“We’ve been able to raise a lot of money in the last few years, and there is an opportunity to enhance some of those areas,” he said.