COLUMBIA - Dave Christensen knew it was time.
On Tuesday night, Missouri’s offensive coordinator was announced as Wyoming’s next coach. Christensen becomes the first assistant under coach Gary Pinkel to earn a head-coaching position since the staff arrived in Columbia before the 2001 season. Christensen said he plans to retain his duties at Missouri through the Tigers’ bowl game.
“I’ve never been more prepared than I am now,” Christensen said during a teleconference. “The last two years, I’ve really put a lot of focus in preparing myself to become a head coach.
“I’ve been coaching college football for 23 of the last 25 years. I think it’s time. I think I’ve paid my dues. I’ve been preparing for this job for 25 years.”
In the coming weeks, Christensen will balance responsibilities between his two positions. On Saturday, Christensen will coach against Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game in Kansas City. On Sunday, he will fly to Laramie, Wyo., to evaluate personnel and assess the Cowboys’ recruiting situation. On Monday, Christensen will meet with present Wyoming staff, the local media and fans. After attending a banquet on Tuesday in New York, Christensen will return next Wednesday to Columbia and begin game planning for Missouri’s bowl game. He will attend Missouri’s practices next Friday, Saturday and Sunday before returning to Laramie, Wyo., that Sunday for more organizational staff meetings.
“When Missouri’s practicing, I’ll be here at practice,” Christensen said. “When Missouri’s out recruiting, I’ll be actively recruiting for the University of Wyoming.
"I’ve wanted to be a head coach for quite some time. It has always been a career goal for me.
“I wasn’t going to interview for a job where I felt I didn’t have a chance to go in and turn a program around and compete for a conference championship.”
Christensen said he will introduce an offensive scheme similar to the one he helped construct at Missouri. He said he will hire an offensive coordinator but play an active role in offensive game planning. He said he will honor Wyoming’s three commitments but evaluate all other scholarship offers.
Christensen brings an impressive offensive background to Wyoming. He was the mind behind Missouri’s transition to a no-huddle spread attack that was introduced before the 2005 season. Last year, he guided the Tigers to a school-record 558 points and helped then-junior quarterback Chase Daniel become the first Heisman Trophy finalist in program history (Daniel finished fourth). Since 2005, Missouri is 36-15 and later this season will appear in its fourth consecutive bowl game – the program’s longest postseason streak since berths from 1978 to 1981.
He replaces former coach Joe Glenn, who was fired on Nov. 23 and finished with a 30-41 overall record and a 15-31 mark in Mountain West Conference play. The Cowboys struggled offensively this season, scoring 21 points or fewer in all but two games.
On Tuesday afternoon, Christensen attended Missouri’s practice at Memorial Stadium.
“I felt really good after I had a chance to meet with Dave,” Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman said during a teleconference. “I felt very good, obviously, going into it that Dave would be a great candidate. Once I had a chance to sit down with him and listen to his plan and talk to him about his vision for the University of Wyoming, I knew he was the right fit.”