DENVER, Colo. (January 26, 2016) – Colorado State University-Pueblo Head Football Coach John Wristen was honored as the Mile High Sports Coach of the Year in the January awards issue of the magazine. The award on the heels of the ThunderWolves' fifth straight NCAA playoff appearance and fifth consecutive conference title.
In just seven seasons, John Wristen turned the defunct Colorado State University-Pueblo football program into NCAA Division II National Champions. With a program record 14-1 season in 2014, Wristen guided the ThunderWolves to the national championship game where they defeated then-No. 1 Minnesota State University, Mankato, 13-0.
In his eighth season at the helm, Wristen, a five-time RMAC Coach of the Year honoree (2011-15), guided the Pack to its third appearance in the NCAA Division II Quarterfinals in four years. CSU-Pueblo went 12-2 in 2015 and collected its fifth straight Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title in an undefeated (9-0) fashion, the Pack's fourth perfect conference season in five years.
Wristen was named 2014 American Football Coaches Association Division II Coach of the Year, 2014 D2Football.com Coach of the Year, 2014 Rawlings/American Football Monthly Division II Coach of the Year and Don Hansen Division II Coach of the Year. He was also selected as CaptainU College Coach of the Year and Don Hansen Super Region Four Coach of the Year.
He was named 2011 National Coach of the Year by American Football Monthly Magazine and in the same year was AFCA Regional Coach of the Year.
Hired in 2007 with the daunting task of re-starting the football program from scratch, Wristen has accumulated an 80-18 (.816) overall and 60-12 (.833) RMAC record since the first season in 2008.
In 2015, the ThunderWolves earned the No. 4 seed in Super Region Four to post their fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Playoffs.
The ThunderWolves in 2015
The ThunderWolves went 12-2 overall for their third 12-plus win season in the last four years. The Pack went a perfect 9-0 for the fourth time in the last five years to earn their fifth consecutive RMAC Championship.
CSU-Pueblo earned the No. 4 seed in the NCAA Playoffs and made its fifth straight appearance in the Division II postseason Nov. 21. The ThunderWolves hosted No. 5-seed University of Indianapolis in the first round and won 27-14, then took to the road for their first-ever true road game in the playoffs. The Pack traveled to No. 1-seed Midwestern State University and downed the Mustangs 26-17 to earn a spot in the quarterfinals for the third time in the last four years. CSU-Pueblo suffered a 31-7 loss to No. 6-seed Grand Valley State University in the game at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl, to close the season and end the defense of the 2014 NCAA Division II National Championship.
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As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.