1966-67 Men’s Basketball Team

“The Little Engine that Could”

Possibly the most over-achieving team in Cowboy basketball history, the Pokes were in the 7th strongest of 18 conferences in the country. Two Western Athletic Conference teams were nationally ranked, and each of them had a future NBA first-round draft pick. Moreover, the Cowboys were relatively short on experience and size. The outlook wasn’t promising. It was going to be a “rebuilding year.”

Despite early impressive wins vs. non-conference teams Nebraska, New Mexico State, and Texas Tech, and a WAC-opening victory vs. #3 New Mexico, the Cowboys were only 6-10 by the end of January and 1-2 in the WAC.

Then two players left the team, including the Pokes’ leading rebounder and 2nd leading scorer.

Enter the “Shuffle.” In an emergency effort to salvage the season and maximize their chances of winning, Coach Bill Strannigan adapted the offense to fit the talents of the remaining players. The “Strannigan Shuffle,” as it came to be known, was a brilliant scheme and an instant success against taller teams. Emphasizing a slow-down, ball-control style, with four of five players cutting and moving, the Shuffle drove defenses crazy. With no shot clock, the shorter but quicker Wyoming players leveled the playing field. They were hard to guard and their patience resulted in open shots and layups.

The Cowboys surged to finish the regular season on an 8-2 run and 7-0 in the WAC. This forced a playoff game with co-champion Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City for a ticket to the postseason. The Cowboys won the game and became Wyoming’s only entry in the NCAA tournament between 1958 and 1981. It was a miracle finish no one had foreseen.

Wyoming received multiple WAC postseason honors. Strannigan was Coach of the Year. Players cited were Mike Eberle (1st team), Harry Hall (2nd team), and Tom Asbury (honorable mention).

Even though the Cowboys didn’t advance in the Tournament – losing to #1 UCLA and in a squeaker to #10 UTEP – their modest 15-14 season belies a historic comeback which serves as an inspiration to other teams when facing adversity. The willingness to change their whole approach to offense in midstream along with the right leadership and team commitment achieved the ultimate victory.

Front row, left to right: Gary Poush, Gary Von Krosigk, Tom Asbury (team captain), Ken Johnson and Ken Collins.
Second row, left to right: Ed Pollard, Ev Martindale, Mike Eberle, Cliff Nelson, and J. R. Craig.
Third row, left to right: Assistant Coach Bill Purden, Terry Delp, Harry Hall, Bob Wilson, and Head Coach Bill Strannigan.

Larry Zowada

Hometown: Sheridan, Wyoming
Sport: Football
Years: 1955-56-57

An All-Skyline Conference quarterback during 1956 and 1957, Zowada was initially pressed into action in the 1956 Sun Bowl after starting quarterback Joe Mastrogiovanni suffered a knee injury in the last regular season game. In his debut, Zowada completed six of ten passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns as Wyoming defeated Texas Tech, 21-14. In his first season as a starter in 1956, Zowada led the nation in yards per completion while leading the Cowboys to a perfect 10-0 record. That year he completed 41 of 96 passes for 878 yards and seven touchdowns. During the 1957 season, Zowada completed 63 of 123 passes for 862 yards and three touchdowns. A versatile athlete, he also served as the team’s punter.

Courtney Stapp Pool

Hometown: Newell, South Dakota
Sport:  Basketball
Years: 1995-98

A terrific all-around player, Stapp scored 1,278 points during her Cowgirl career. As a freshman, she made an immediate impact and was named to the Western Athletic Conference All-Newcomer Team. A two-time all-Western Athletic Conference honoree, Stapp also earned Academic All-Conference and WAC Scholar Athlete honors. During her senior season, Stapp led the team in scoring at 17.6 points per game, assists, three-point shooting, minutes played and field goals.

Jay Martin

Hometown:  Minneapolis, Minnesota
Sport: Skiing
Years: 1965-67

A two-time Olympian (’64 and ’68) and USSA Senior National Champion (’68), Martin was recognized as one of America’s elite ski jumpers during the 1960s. His national and international reputation helped put Wyoming on the ski map and enhanced recruiting for the Cowboys. As USSA Junior Champion in 1962 and 1963, he earned a scholarship to the University of Wyoming. In 1966, he was a member of the US team at the FIS World Championships in Norway competing in the 70- and 90-meter jumps. As co-captain and top jumper for the Cowboys in 1967, he was a leader in the Pokes’ 2nd place finish in the NCAA Championships – just 0.8 points behind perennial champion Denver. He was also the first President of the University’s Ski Club. His example contributed to the success of Wyoming ski teams at the beginning of an era of national recognition for the Cowboys. Known in the trade as a “natural” and a “ski flier,” Martin’s trademarks were style and aerodynamics. He adapted the speed skaters’ cap for use by jumpers in order to reduce friction and increase speed down the takeoff ramp. To this day, he continues to be involved in ski jump judging, administration, and promotion. In 2008, he was elected to the American Ski Jumping Hall of Fame.

Wes Gasner

Hometown: Cheyenne, Wyoming
Sport: Wrestling
Years: 1983-84

An All American and two-time conference champion, Gasner had a remarkable two-year career at Wyoming, highlighted by his 6th place finish at the 1983 NCAA Tournament to win All-America honors. In 1983 and 1984, he logged two of the greatest seasons in Cowboy wrestling history, winning back-to-back conference titles at 150 pounds and qualifying for the NCAA Tournament both years. Coached by Joe Dowler, he earned 44 victories, including 19 pins, in the 1982-83 season while leading the Cowboys to a Western Athletic Conference Championship and a 10-2 dual record, and gained 45 victories in 1983-84. He won the Everett Lantz Most Outstanding Wrestler Award each of his two seasons. A native of Cheyenne, Gasner was awarded the Admiral Emory S. Land Award in 1984 as UW’s top student-athlete.

Andrea Everett Blocher

Hometown: Glasgow, Scotland
Sport: Cross Country, Track & Field
Years: 1982-83

A native of Scotland, Everett came to Wyoming specializing in Cross Country and middle distance events.  A pioneer in Wyoming Women’s Track, she earned All-America honors in Cross Country in 1983, and also won the conference championship in Cross Country.  Competing in Outdoor Track and Field, she won conference titles in the 1500m and 3000m. She once held the UW record in the 3000-meter run and still ranks in the Top 10 all-time in the mile.  She was named Team MVP in 1982.

1987 WAC Championship Football Team

Under first-year head coach Paul Roach, the 1987 Cowboy football team went 8-0 in the Western Athletic Conference to win the league championship and a berth in the Holiday Bowl. They compiled an overall record of 10-3, including a streak of nine wins in a row. Led by team captains quarterback Craig Burnett, defensive end Jeff Knapton, and linebacker Galand Thaxton, the Cowboys were ranked as high as 21st in the USA Today poll during the year. Craig Burnett passed for 3,131 yards on the year, while running back Gerald Abraham rushed for 1305 yards. Seven Cowboys earned All-Conference honors (wide receiver Anthony Sargent, tight end Bill Hoffman, offensive tackle Tony Kapushion, Abraham, Knapton, Thaxton, and punter Tom Kilpatrick) and Roach was named Coach of the Year. Knapton led the conference in sacks that year, while Thaxton added to his totals as Wyoming’s all-time leader in tackles. Roach was assisted by coaches Gregg Brandon, Greg Brown, Dave Butterfield, Scott Downing, Larry Korpitz, Al Roberts, Joe Tiller, Mark Tommerdahl, and Del Wight.

Front row (left to right): Scott Runyan, Galand Thaxton, Craig Burnett, Keith Jackson, Scott Hanser, Jeff Knapton, Bret Bommer, Pat Arndt, Greg Worker, Bill Hoffman. Second row (left to right): Rich Miller, Lawrence Chavers, Scott Joseph, Freddie Dussett, Anthony Sargent, James Loving, Doug DiVenere, Eric Loftus, Gerald Abraham, Reggie Berry, Chuck Kimbrough, Steve Vana, Shane Scott. Third row (left to right): John Dexter, Mark Foos, Darren Wehrer, Kevin Schitoskey, Tyrone Fittje, Craig Schlichting, Steve Slay, Doug Rigby, David Edeen, Tom Kilpatrick, John Brasee, Ken Crouse, Shaun Kissack. Fourth row (left to right): Christian Galdabini, Mitch Donahue, Steve Roe, Eric Naugle, Willie Wright, Dan Cudworth, Matt O’Brien, Tom Corontzos, Ryan Vowers, Scott Studie, Jon Cogdill, John Egar. Fifth row (left to right): Jim Pennington, Gregg Brown, Scott Gibson, Robert Midgett, Steve Clayton, Eric Hookanson, Jeff Tapp, Grant Salisbury, Eric Worden, Bear Hanousek, Steve Hamilton, Jim Laurie, Trent Greener. Sixth row (left to right): Bryan Mooney, Crandelle Mack, Dave Schutt, Shawn Wehrer, John Walsh, Kyle Dempsey, Jim Scifres, Pat Rabold, Mike Schenbeck, Tony Kapushion, Gaston Gosar, Pete Gosar, Ty Muma, Travis Williams. Seventh row (left to right): Brady Jacobsen, Randy Welniak, Melvin Wells, Brad Quiring, Scott Skavdahl, Justin Byleveld, Herman Robinson, Bobby Fresques, Steve Bena, Gordy Wood, P. J. Wells, Mark Timmer, Rich Martoglio, Carl Bruere, Rich Sauls. Eighth row (left to right): Shawn Wiggins, Chip Watkins, Jim Stringer, Ken Patterson, Tim Campbell, Chuck Koeber, Lee Carter, Jay Daffer, Scott Addison, Steve Addison, Cody Johnson, Darrell Perkins, Andre Rudolph. Ninth row (left to right): Ron Dean, Eric Coleman, Bryan Hudson, Chris Kujawa, Mike Smith, Mark Hardee, Gary Patch, Steve McMillon, Daryl Harris, Peter Gunn, DeWaine Jones. Not pictured: Mike Hill, Mitch Rosebrough, Quentin Skinner, Derrick Spack, Damian Spencer; Equipment Manager Michael “Mad Dog” Aanonsen; and Head Athletic Trainer Bill Lyons.

Inducted August 31, 2018

Cory Wedel

Hometown: Burlington, Colorado
Sport: Football
Years: 1994-97

Holding almost every placekicking record at the University of Wyoming, Wedel earned All-America honors in 1996 and 1997. He was named to the all-Western Athletic Conference team in 1995, 1996, and 1997. During his career, Wedel kicked five game-winning field goals, including a dramatic 41-yarder against Iowa State to give UW its first ever overtime win in its first ever overtime game. He was one of twenty finalists for the Lou Groza Award (honoring the nation’s best kicker) in 1996 and 1997. He led the team in scoring in both his junior and senior seasons. Named first-team Academic All-America in 1996 and 1997, while earning WAC Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-WAC honors all four years at Wyoming.

Inducted August 31, 2018

Steven Suder

Hometown: Littleton, Colorado
Sport: Wrestling
Years: 1975-77, 1979/ Wrestling Coach, 1989-2008

Suder completed an outstanding career as a UW wrestler by earning All-America honors during his senior year of 1979. Wrestling at 150 pounds, Suder had an overall record of 62-37-2 as a Cowboy. He placed in the top four each year in the conference and was a team captain his senior year while placing at every major tournament in the Rocky Mountain Region. He returned to his alma mater as the head coach in 1989 and served in that capacity for nineteen years. He led Wyoming to two Western Athletic Conference team titles while being named Coach of the Year four times. He also earned NCAA West Regional Coach of the Year honors twice.

Inducted August 31, 2018

Art Howe

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Sport: Baseball
Years: 1967-69

Howe came to UW on a football scholarship but an injury forced him to switch to baseball. A slick-fielding third baseman, Howe played 109 games for the Cowboys and earned first-team all-conference honors in 1969. After graduating from Wyoming with a business degree, Howe returned to Pittsburgh and worked in the private sector while playing baseball in a weekend league. The Pirates discovered him there and signed him to a contract. He went on to play professional baseball for over a decade, with Pittsburgh, Houston, and St. Louis. He was also a manager with Houston, Oakland, and the New York Mets, experiencing his greatest success with the A’s winning the American League West title in 2000, 2001, and 2002. He still ranks as the third all-time winningest manager in Oakland A’s history.

Inducted August 31, 2018