George Howard, the coach for the University of Wyoming’s rodeo club, died Sunday after suffering a gunshot wound, according to the Converse County Sheriff’s Office.
Howard, 59, was in an area southwest of Douglas on Friday afternoon when first responders arrived at the scene, according to Converse County Under Sheriff Nathan Hughes. They were responding to a report of a man with a gunshot wound.
Howard was transported to Converse County Memorial Hospital and then taken to Wyoming Medical Center, where he later died.
“The UW community is saddened to learn of the death of Coach Howard,” UW President Laurie Nichols wrote in a press release. “He touched the lives of many cowgirls and cowboys during his 20 years as the coach of our rodeo program, and we appreciate the leadership he provided for so many years. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and many friends, including our rodeo student-athletes, past and present.”
The press release cited the Converse County Sheriff’s Department. Hughes could not provide additional details including cause of death or if Howard was alone or with people at the time. The investigation is still active.
The Converse County coroner’s office also declined to comment, citing the investigation.
Sen. Bill Landen, who was friends with Howard, called the coach a gentleman.
“He was part of a generation that gave so many students the opportunity of a better life through college rodeo,” Landen wrote in a statement to the Star-Tribune. “He will be missed.”
Howard was the head rodeo coach at Wyoming for 20 years. During those 20 seasons he coached eight College National Finals Rodeo champions. The Wyoming women won the team championship at CNFR in 2007 and 2009. The Wyoming men finished second in 2003.