|Posted December 28, 2011|
Wristen named National Coach of the Year
Wristen becomes first CSU-Pueblo head coach to earn national coach of the year honors in 50 years.
NORTH PALM BEACH, Fla. (GoThunderWolves.com - Dec. 28, 2011) - CSU-Pueblo head football coach, John Wristen, has been named the Division II National Coach of the Year by American Football Monthly magazine, a leading publication for football coaches.
Wristen led the ThunderWolves to an 11-0 regular season record and a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championship - the first outright conference title in CSU-Pueblo history - as well as a regular-season-ending ranking of number-one in the nation prior to the NCAA Division II Playoffs. CSU-Pueblo would eventually lose to defending national champion, Minnesota-Duluth, in the NCAA Division II Playoffs.
Wristen led a program that had been resurrected after discontinuing football in 1984. After being named the head coach in May 2007, he was tasked to build a football program from the ground up and play its first game in September 2008. That first season, the ThunderWolves went 4-6 and steadily improved every season thereafter - to 7-4 in 2009, 9-2 in 2010 and 11-1 in 2011. This past fall, CSU-Pueblo led the nation in scoring defense, surrendering only 10.3 points per game en route to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championship. As a result, defensive coordinator Hunter Hughes was also named national coach of the year, earning Division II Coordinator of the Year honors from FootballScoop.com.
With the national coach of the year honor from American Football Monthly, Wristen becomes the first CSU-Pueblo head coach in exactly 50 years to earn national coach of the year honors. In 1961, legendary basketball coach Harry "The Chief" Simmons was named NJCAA coach of the year after leading the then-Pueblo Junior College Indians to the junior college national title.
"It's quite an honor to be named the national coach of the year by American Football Monthly," said Wristen. "It's a program honor for all our players, staff, and community and it's a reflection of all the hard work everybody has put in to be successful at CSU-Pueblo. It's a very humbling honor yet exciting at the same time."
Additional AFM College Coaches of the Year for include –
FBS – Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
FCS – Willie Fritz, Sam Houston State
Division III – Glenn Caruso, University of Saint Thomas
NAIA – Ted Karras, Jr., Marian University
JUCO – Buddy Stephens, East Mississippi Community College
American Football Monthly has been selecting both college and high school coaches of the year since the publication's inception in 1995. Last fall, Bob Nielson of Minnesota-Duluth was selected as the Division II Coach of the Year.
For over 18 years, AFM has helped college and high school coaches be more successful on and off the field by giving them the best offensive and defensive strategies, plays, and drills – most of which were provided by their coaching peers. In addition to publishing AFM, the company also produces and markets hundreds of coaching videos and maintains the world's largest library of coaching articles on its web site, www.AmericanFootballMonthly.com.