Wyoming coach Craig Bohl to retire after Arizona Bowl

Defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel will replace Bohl as head coach

LARAMIE, WY - NOVEMBER 3: Head coach Craig Bohl of the Wyoming Cowboys casually watches as head coach Jay Norvell of the Colorado State Rams pops his top after the referees did not call a late hit against the Cowboys defense during the second quarter of the Border War at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyoming on Friday, November 3, 2023. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

The Arizona Bowl will be Craig Bohl’s final game as Wyoming's head coach.

Bohl announced Wednesday that he’d retire after the bowl game. Shortly after the school released Bohl’s retirement statement, it announced that defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel would be Bohl’s replacement.

Bohl has been the coach at Wyoming for 10 seasons after he was hired from North Dakota State. A win against Toledo will mean Bohl will finish his tenure with a winning record. The Cowboys are 60-60 in his 10 seasons and 8-4 entering the Dec. 30 bowl game.

"Being the head football coach of the Wyoming Cowboys has been a privilege," Bohl said in a statement. "I felt like now was the time for me step away and entrust the program to new leadership. I want to thank all the young men who have worn the brown and gold over the past 10 years for their dedication and for their passion in representing this football program, this university and this state. Many thanks to all the assistant coaches and staff who have helped build Wyoming football into a consistently winning program over this past decade."

Wyoming has gone to six bowl games during Bohl’s time with the team and has won eight games in four different seasons. Wyoming has not had a losing season in any of the seven full seasons of Bohl’s tenure after the Cowboys went 6-18 in his first two years.

It’s not a stretch to say the Bohl era has been the most successful stretch of Wyoming football since Bob Devaney and Lloyd Eaton coached at the school in the 1950s and 1960s.

Bohl, 65, took over as North Dakota State’s head coach in 2003 as the school moved from a Division II powerhouse to an FCS heavyweight. NDSU went 104-32 in his time with the school and won three consecutive national championships before Bohl went to Wyoming. The Bison went 43-2 in those three seasons.

Bohl was succeeded at NDSU by current Kansas State coach Chris Klieman.

Sawvel has been at Wyoming for four seasons after stints as the defensive coordinator at Wake Forest and Minnesota.

"I'm excited and honored to be the next head football coach at the University of Wyoming," Sawvel said in a school statement. "I have loved working and learning under head coach Craig Bohl for the last four years. The infrastructure Coach Bohl has put into this program makes me very excited to be the next leader of this program."