CSU–Pueblo Names John Wristen as Head Football Coach


Joseph Garcia, President of Colorado State University – Pueblo, today introduced John Wristen as the ThunderWolves first football coach since 1985. CSU-Pueblo's football program was cut in 1985 as part of a campus-wide reorganization plan. The Thunderwolves, who are reinstating wrestling and women’s track & field as well, will begin play in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in the fall of 2008.

“I am excited about what a quality football program can do for our long-term goals of enrollment growth, improved student retention and graduation rates, and the quality of our campus life at CSU-Pueblo,” said Garcia. “Coach Wristen will run a clean, successful, and competitive program that will focus on helping us to achieve those goals, and he will work closely with our faculty to educate successful student –athletes.”

Wristen, a 1984 graduate of CSU-Pueblo and a two-time all-RMAC quarterback for the ThunderWolves, returns to Pueblo after coaching the past 17 years in the NCAA Division I ranks at the University of Colorado, Northwestern University, and, most recently, UCLA. He was chosen from an application pool of more than 100 football coaches.

“John Wristen is a great hire for the athletics department, CSU-Pueblo, and the community of Pueblo,” said Joe Folda, CSU-Pueblo Director of Athletics. “We are extremely excited to have John become the leader of ThunderWolves Football.”

Wristen becomes just the fourth head coach for the University since becoming a four-year institution in 1963. Joe Prater served as coach from 1963 to 1973 and had a 52-53-2 career record. Mike Friedman led the team from 1974 to 1983 and had a 60-38-2 overall record. Gary Richardson coached the final year of football in 1984 with a 1-9 record, before the program was dropped.

“I’m very excited to start this new program,” said Wristen. “It’s been a dream of mine to be a head coach, and even more so, to return to my alma mater to start the program from the ground level. This is a tremendous opportunity, and I’m so excited and thankful for the chance.”

During the 2006 season, Wristen served as the special teams and tight ends coach at UCLA. He coached all-American tight end Justin Medlock and worked closely with the offensive coordinator in play calling.

Prior to UCLA, he served his second of two stints at CU from 1999-2006. He helped guide the Buffaloes to four Big 12 North Division Championships and the 2001 Big 12 Title. He coached the tight ends, kickoff and punt teams, and was given the additional responsibility of recruiting coordinator in 2003. He coached three all-Americans and helped develop and implement the West Coast Offense at CU.

From 1991-1999, Wristen served as the running back, kickoff return and punt team coach at Northwestern University. The Wildcats won back-to-back Big 10 Titles in 1995 and 1996 during Wristen’s tenure, and he coached Heisman Trophy finalist Darnell Autry. Northwestern, who played in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1949 during Wristen’s time, received the 1997 NCAA Graduation Award for graduating 100 percent of its undergraduate student-athletes.

Wristen’s career in Division I football started in 1990 as a graduate assistant at CU, working with the quarterbacks and running backs and helping the Buffaloes to the 1990 National Championship.

He also served as the offensive coordinator at Fort Lewis College, head football and girls basketball coach at Rocky Ford (Colo.) High School, and assistant football coach at Weslaco (Texas) High School.

As the starting quarterback at then University of Southern Colorado, Wristen was an honorable mention All-American quarterback, guiding USC to its only NAIA National Playoff appearance in 1983. He graduated as USC’s all-time leader in passing yards (3,283) and touchdown passes (26). In 1982, Wristen led the NAIA in passing efficiency with a 182.5 rating as a junior.

After graduating with an education degree, Wristen signed a free agent contract with the Denver Broncos. After being released from the Broncos, he received a Master of Arts degree from Adams State College in 1988.

For more information, please contact Todd Kelly, CSU-Pueblo athletic development and major gifts officer, at (719) 549-2013.


The Wristen File

Personal
Full Name: John T. Wristen

Wife: Sue

Children: Daughters, JoVanna, 20 and Bailey, 10. Son, C.T., 11


Education:
Master of Arts, Special Education, Adams State College, 1988

Bachelor of Science, Education, Colorado State University-Pueblo, 1984


Playing Experience:
Professional: Free agent, Denver Broncos, 1983

College: Colorado State University-Pueblo, 1981-83

High School: Pueblo South, 1977-80

Coaching Experience:
1985 Weslaco (Texas) High School, assistant football coach

1986-87 Rocky Ford (Colo.) High School, head football and girls basketball coach

1988-90 Fort Lewis College, offensive coordinator

1990-91 University of Colorado, graduate assistant football coach

1991-99 Northwestern University, running backs, kickoff return, punt team coach

1999-06 University of Colorado, tight ends, kickoff return, punt team coach and recruiting coordinator

2006-07 UCLA, special teams coordinator and tight ends coach

2007 CSU-Pueblo, head football coach

2008 CSU-Pueblo Football Schedule

Date Opponent Location

8/30 OPEN

9/6 OPEN

9/13 Fort Lewis College* Durango, Colo.

9/20 Chadron State College* Pueblo, Colo.

9/27 Colorado School of Mines* Golden, Colo.

10/4 University of Nebraska-Kearney* Pueblo, Colo.

10/11 Mesa State College* Grand Junction, Colo.

10/18 New Mexico Highlands University* Pueblo, Colo.

10/25 Western State College* Gunnison, Colo.

11/1 Western New Mexico University Silver City, N.M.

11/8 Adams State College* Pueblo, Colo.

*-RMAC Games


CSU-Pueblo Football History

Year-By-Year Records



Conference
Overall


Year
Coach
W
L
PTS
OPP
RANK
W
L
T
PTS
OPP

1963
Joe Prater

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
3
5
0
11
133

1964
Joe Prater

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
6
4
0
239
119

1965
Joe Prater

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
8
1
1
232
122

1966
Joe Prater

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
3
7
0
142
212

1967
Joe Prater

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
3
6
1
148
221

1968
Joe Prater

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
4
6
0
138
256

1969
Joe Prater

3
2
111
99
3
7
2
0
191
121

1970
Joe Prater

1
4
75
161
T5
5
5
0
202
236

1971
Joe Prater

1
4
84
78
6
4
6
0
200
183

1972
Joe Prater

3
3
85
53
T4
6
4
0
209
149

1973
Joe Prater

1
4
71
138
6
3
7
0
176
275

1974
Mike Friedman

1
4
111
139
T4
3
6
0
176
214

1975
Mike Friedman

3
2
113
105
T2
4
5
0
159
193

1976
Mike Friedman

5
2
165
136
3
6
4
1
227
243

1977
Mike Friedman

2
7
202
125
T7
3
7
0
244
139

1978
Mike Friedman

0
0
0
0
-
8
2
0
305
201

1979
Mike Friedman

6
2
241
140
2
8
2
0
306
156

1980
Mike Friedman

7
1
224
145
T1
9
1
0
302
170

1981
Mike Friedman

2
6
108
150
7
4
6
0
164
181

1982
Mike Friedman

7
1
258
120
2
9
2
0
347
205

1983
Mike Friedman

6
1
199
144
2
6
3
1
236
221

1984
Gary Richardson

1
7
107
279
T5
1
9
0
127
397

TOTAL

49
50
.495
113
100
4
.521


CSU-Pueblo Coaching Records
Coach Years Conference Overall

Joe Prater 1963-73 9-17 (.346) 52-53-2 (.486)

Mike Friedman 1974-83 39-26 (.600) 60-38-2 (.600)

Gary Richardson 1984 1-7 (.125) 1-9 (.100)

CSU-Pueblo Season-By-Season Results

1963 (3-5-0)
Coach Joe Prater

KS Teachers L 20-21
at St. Mary’s W 28-7
at Weber St. L 14-28
at KS Pittsburg L 0-46
Washburn L 0-7
Fort Lewis W 28-6
at Fort Hays St. L 14-18
at Fort Lewis W 7-0

1964 (6-4-0)
Coach Joe Prater

Western N.M. W 34-7
Panhandle St. L 7-19
at St. Mary’s W 41-0
At Weber St. L 14-19
At KS Teachers W 27-7
Fort Lewis W 34-19
Fort Hays St. W 34-19
At Northern Colorado L 21-8
At Colorado Mines W 28-9

1965 (8-1-1)
Coach Joe Prater

Colorado Mines W 24-12
At Western N.M. W 20-13
At Panhandle St. W 10-0
Northern Colorado T 0-0
Washburn W 45-14
KS Teachers W 26-13
At Fort Lewis W 57-27
At Fort Hays St. W 24-14
At N.M. Highlands W 10-7
Adams State L 22-16

1966 (3-7-0)
Coach Joe Prater

Panhandle St. W 15-9
At Northern Colorado L 29-13
At Western N.M. L 24-0
At Washburn L 21-13
At KS Teachers W 22-0
At Fort Lewis W 25-7
Fort Hays St. L 38-21
N.M. Highlands L 47-13
Adams State L 16-0
At Colorado Mines L 21-20

1967 (3-6-1)
Coach Joe Prater

At Panhandle St. L 21-13
Northern Colorado T 7-7
At Western N.M. L 29-3
Washburn W 20-0
At KS Teachers W 34-6
At Fort Lewis L 22-6
At Fort Hays St. L 14-0
At N.M. Highlands L 70-6
Adams State L 27-13
Colorado Mines W 46-33

1968 (4-6-0)
Coach Joe Prater

KS Pittsburg W 10-7
At Washburn W 10-7
At Western N.M. W 21-7
KS Teachers L 20-17
At UNLV L 25-21
Fort Hays State W 20-14
At Northern Colorado L 52-8
N.M. Highlands L 48-10
At Adams State L 31-0
At Colorado Mines L 45-21

1969 (7-2-0)
Coach Joe Prater

At KS Pittsburg L 21-17
Washburn W 21-20
Western N.M. W 23-6
At KS Teachers W 10-0
At Fort Hays State W 43-8
Northern Colorado L 41-20
At Fort Lewis W 31-0
Adams State W 12-10
Colorado Mines W 14-6

1970 (5-5-0)
Coach Joe Prater

Fort Lewis W 21-7
Western State W 24-12
at Adams State W 20-17
at NW Oklahoma L 27-21
at KS Teachers W 20-14
at Nebraska Omaha L 44-15
KS Pittsburg L 34-9
Fort Hays State L 42-21
At Northern Colorado L 27-10
Colorado Mines W 41-12

1971 (4-6-0)
Coach Joe Prater

At Fort Lewis W 39-0
At Western State L 10-7
Adams State W 34-27
NW Oklahoma L 50-7
At KS Teachers W 30-0
Nebraska Omaha L 16-9
At KS Pittsburg L 26-24
At Fort Hays State L 10-7
Northern Colorado L 17-14
At Colorado Mines W 30-18

1972 (6-4-0)
Coach Joe Prater

Western State L 35-13
At Adams State W 37-28
Eastern N.M. W 35-7
At Washburn W 13-0
KS Teachers L 24-10
At Nebraska-Omaha L 14-3
KS Pittsburg W 25-3
Fort Hays State W 34-9
At Northern Colorado L 3-0
Fort Lewis W 39-26

1973 (3-7-0)
Coach Joe Prater

At Fort Lewis W 30-17
At Western L 41-21
Adams State L 8-7
At Eastern NM L 43-15
Washburn W 28-7
At KS Teachers L 45-12
Nebraska Omaha W 32-28
At KS Pittsburg L 20-17
Fort Hays State L 42-7
Northern Colorado L 24-7

1974 (3-6-0)
Coach Joe Prater

Western State W 24-7
At Adams State L 27-7
Eastern NM L 29-21
At Northern Colorado L 48-14
At Washburn L 19-14
KS Emporia W 15-13
KS Pittsburg L 31-20
Fort Hays State L 28-13
At Fort Lewis W 13-12

1975 (4-5-0)
Coach Mike Friedman

At Western State L 17-6
Adams State W 17-8
At Eastern NM L 28-16
Northern Colorado L 24-21
Washburn W 20-8
At KS Emporia W 34-20
Cameron L 35-7
At KS Pittsburg L 26-7
At Fort Hays St. W 31-27

1976 (6-4-1)
Coach Mike Friedman

At Western State L 49-34
At Colorado Mines W 21-18
At Fort Lewis L 17-9
Fort Hays St. W 31-21
At Northern Colorado L 38-7
Adams State W 16-10
At Southern Utah W 32-9
Western NM W 33-27
Eastern NM T 17-17
Mesa State W 20-6
At Cameron L 31-7

1977 (3-7-0)
Coach Mike Friedman

Fort Hays St. W 42-14
At Colorado Mines L 13-10
Fort Lewis L 34-27
At Western NM L 17-10
NM Highlands W 42-6
At Adams State W 34-7
*Western State L 14-10
*Southern Utah L 24-0
*At Westminster L 34-22
At Mesa State L 16-7
*games forfeited

1978 (8-2-0)
Coach Mike Friedman

At Fort Hays St. W 29-6
Colorado Mines W 24-14
At Fort Lewis W 20-17
Western NM W 36-10
At NM Highlands W 22-20
Adams State W 16-13
At Western State L 51-43
At Southern Utah L 22-21
Westminster W 38-27
Mesa State W 49-19

1979 (8-2-0)
Coach Mike Friedman

Mexico Ministry of Ed. W 41-7
At Mesa College W 48-10
At Colorado Mines L 15-14
Fort Lewis W 26-22
At Western NM L 17-14
At NM Highlands W 47-18
At Adams State W 28-17
Western State W 34-28
Southern Utah W 30-13
At Panhandle W 24-9

1980 (9-1-0)
Coach Mike Friedman

At Mexico Ministry of Ed. W 33-0
Mesa State W 27-7
Colorado Mines W 27-19
At Fort Lewis W 45-14
Western NM W 39-7
At NM Highlands W 24-21
Adams State W 20-18
At Western State W 27-10
At Southern Utah L 49-15
Panhandle State W 45-25

1981 (4-6-0)
Coach Mike Friedman

East Central Oklahoma W 36-14
Mesa State L 20-14
At Fort Lewis L 3-0
Eastern NM W 20-17
At Southern Utah St. L 27-12
Western State L 21-7
Colorado Mines W 28-27
At Western NM W 24-0
Adams State L 19-10
At NM Highlands L 33-13

1982 (9-2-0)
Coach Mike Friedman

Carroll College W 24-21
S.D. Springfield W 45-3
At Mesa State L 14-13
Fort Lewis W 49-30
Southern Utah W 36-22
At Western State W 28-7
At Colorado Mines W 16-10
Western NM W 50-0
At Adams State W 33-24
NM Highlands W 33-13
Central State Oklahoma L 61-20

1983 (6-3-1)
Coach Mike Friedman

Central Missouri L 34-9
At Idaho L 43-28
At NM Highlands W 21-14
Mesa State T 14-14
At Fort Lewis W 10-6
At Southern Utah L 32-21
Western State W 44-27
Colorado Mines W 14-9
At West NM W 24-14
Adams State W 51-28

1984 (1-9)
Coach: Gary Richardson

Central Oklahoma L 7-48
New Mexico Highlands W 27-13
At Mesa State L 6-38
Ft. Lewis L 10-38
At Eastern New Mexico L 13-70
Southern Utah L 13-17
At Western State L 10-46
At Colorado Mines L 9-42
Western New Mexico L 7-34
At Adams State L 25-51

Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.