The University of Wyoming’s chief fundraiser lashed out at Athletics Director Tom Burman in the aftermath of football coach Dave Christensen's postgame tirade last month, saying the head coach tarnishes the school.

UW Foundation director Ben Blalock, in an email sent to Burman on Oct. 21, said the organization “is feeling ‘foolish’ in funding an ‘f-bomb screaming loser.’” Christensen cussed out Air Force coach Troy Calhoun following Wyoming's loss on Oct. 13, accusing him of cheating by having a player fake an injury. A video of the one-sided exchange was later posted on YouTube and became Internet fodder.

Through a public records request, the Star-Tribune obtained a series of emails from top school officials that details the university's response to the aftermath of Christensen's actions. The exchanges showed that the fourth-year head coach apologized to Gov. Matt Mead and other UW leaders and illustrated a growing unrest between the school's fundraising arm and the athletic department.

The Star-Tribune filed its Freedom of Information Act request with the university on Oct. 23, the day after Christensen was suspended and fined by Wyoming. UW officials released the information on Friday.

"At this time -- the UW Foundation is feeling ‘foolish’ in funding an ‘f-bomb screaming loser’. Sorry to be harsh," Blalock, whose department raises $38 million annually, wrote to Burman. "But, I am starting to get hammered myself with the UW Foundation Board. I take my responsibility very seriously in helping the UW Foundation Board make “good decisions.” Right now ‘do not’ feel that I have guided a ‘good decision’."

Christensen's postgame comments to Calhoun after UW's 28-27 loss were recorded by an Air Force employee and then sent to the Mountain West Conference to be reviewed. Afterward, Christensen and Burman issued a string of apologies. The embattled coach released a prepared statement on Oct. 14 that issued a blanket apology for his behavior. The following morning, Burman sent an email to Air Force Athletics Director Hans Mueh that also apologized for the coach's comments.

“Please accept my apology for how Dave Christensen responded after the game,” Burman wrote in the email obtained by the Star-Tribune. “He let his emotions get control of him and he just snapped. It is in no way reflective of how we feel about the Academy -- or its players. It makes no difference to me if the qb [Connor Dietz] did take a dive to let the back up get prepared at that critical juncture or if he was truly hurt. We need to maintain our composure at all times when we represent a state and a university.”

The situation appeared to have subsided -- the conference issued a public reprimand -- until the video surfaced on YouTube on Oct. 18. As the video circulated the following day, Burman sent an email to Christensen about an attempt to have the video removed from the Internet. Burman told Christensen that a “VP of Youtube” said only the person who posted the video could remove it. He also said the Mountain West had confirmed that the video online was the one it received from Air Force to review. They could not determine who exactly posted it, though.

“At this point,” Burman wrote, “if you care enough to have it removed you might have to eat crow and beg Calhoun and maybe he will instruct whomever posted it to remove … your call.”

At this time, Burman had not yet reprimanded Christensen. That same day, he told the Star-Tribune that there would be no further action or comment regarding the issue. But that stance shifted after the Wyoming football team returned from a 42-14 loss to Fresno State on Oct. 20.

The day after the Fresno State loss, Blalock sent the heated email. The correspondence, sent at 12:11 p.m., blasts Christensen and poses the UW Foundation Board members' questions to the athletic director.

“From the day of the Foundation investment in Dave -- the Pokes have gone 1-7???,” Blalock wrote. “There is the ‘layman’s view’ that the Pokes were not competitive in the bowl -- as Dave seemed to spend more time that weekend focused on his contract than preparing for the Bowl game. And, now 1-6 this season. And, now the YouTube ‘f-bomb’ fest by Coach Dave????"

On Dec. 17, 2011, the day the Cowboys fell to Temple in the New Mexico Bowl, Christensen and UW agreed to a five-year contract extension. He receives $1.2 million annually.

"Guide me … I need to know what to say when my Board members call me and question ‘the investment’ in Dave?????," Blalock continued. "I know we said the ‘obligation’ from the Foundation would likely be only 2 years as Coach Dave ‘vaulted his career’ to a BCS school. But, we know the commitment could be 5-years??!!! And, it is doubtful that any BCS schools are lining up to recruit Coach Dave. At the rate Dave is going — would be nice to know that Coach Dave is ‘committed’ to win with the Cowboys — and, committed to accomplishing something in Wyoming."

Hours later on Oct. 21, at 3:56 p.m., Christensen sent an email titled “My sincere apology” to Blalock and the following university leaders: UW President Tom Buchanan, the UW board of trustees, Mead and Burman.

“Last Sunday, after our football game against Air Force, I called Tom Burman to apologize for my behavior after the game and for embarrassing the University of Wyoming,” Christensen wrote. “I also issued a public apology on Sunday afternoon and was hopeful that would put an awful situation behind us. Unfortunately, this past Friday, my inappropriate behavior went viral and I had an opportunity to see myself in a mirror. What I saw wasn’t pretty. I have reached out to Troy Calhoun so that I can personally apologize to him and The Air Force Academy, and I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to each one of you. I am sure that you are all very disappointed, but no one can be more disappointed than me. I have let you all down, my University down, my team down and most importantly my family down. You have my word that I will make this up to each and every one of you. I take great pride and responsibility in my job as the Head Coach at The University of Wyoming and we will build a football program that you can be proud of on and off the field."

The next day, Burman announced that Christensen had been suspended for one week and fined $50,000 for his actions. He resumed his responsibilities as head coach on Monday and will coach the Cowboys in today's Border War against Colorado State.

Reach reporter Ben Frederickson at ben.frederickson@trib.com. Follow him on Twitter @Ben_Fred.

(19) comments

rgath
rgath

can't find this on youtube- can anybody help me? I really want to see how this state university is using my tax money.

also, can anyone explain to me why this guy hasn't already been fired? read partial transcript of his rant, and it seems to me, if he had a job in the private sector, he'd be down the road.

joebobjones
joebobjones

Here you go sir:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=318_1350757268

rgath
rgath

found the video- it's worse than the transcript would indicate.

my daughter went to UW. she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. while she was there we watched the football program suck up resources while the academic programs went begging.

I'll keep this video in a file to show to local kids who are thinking about UW- I'll also keep it handy to play when I get calls to donate as an alumni parent.

time to dump the football program at UW and get serious about being a university. this fat clown should have been fired immediately. it's clear he has more power than the administration.

DK
DK

No excuse for Christensen. The ploy the airforce cadet used, is used in almost every game these days. Saves timeouts. Cheating? Not sure. I thought Dave might resurect the program, instead it is slipping down the drain. The Cowboys can't compete with Div. 1-A. IS football that important? Step down a division. Have national champions year in and year out.

Pokes
Pokes

Are you really that out of touch? People like you and rgath make a lot of us ill. So typical of a certain misguided segment of UW.

Pokes
Pokes

It seems Crybaby Blalock is whining as much about the current record as he is about what transpired on the field. What a joke. Benny-Boy seems worried about his own job -- which is begging for money.

Love the clueless comments from the first two commenters on this story. Seriously?

And to Ben_Fred: Are you trying to win a pulitzer and become a superstar by piling on at this point? This is ridiculous. Maybe your twenty-something rear-end should be returned to Missouri.

laramieguy
laramieguy

Coach C made a mistake, a huge mistake. So, to all of you perfect people out there, crucify him. He needs our support now more then ever. It does not take long for the fair weather fans, and I use that term loosely, to show their true colors.

Yonk
Yonk

It costs a Wyoming Resident almost $19,000 a year to go to UW and they pay this buffoon 1.5 million a year.

As for an "investment" the University has sunk millions into stadium renovations, building an indoor football field, and other athletics-based infrastructure that is targeted to make money off of a market no bigger than 750,000 people.

Priorities are lost in Laramie

rgath
rgath

I just did the math: it takes the entire tuition of 79 resident students to pay Dave The Mouth's salary.
hope those 79 kids are football fans.

Pokes
Pokes

Did you do the math for all other D-1 football coaches, too, with your warped sense of today's reality?

Shaking my head at you clueless comedians.

Yonk
Yonk

Other D1 schools can claim they are making an investment, as both the educated and the uneducated masses in their state will spend money on their program.

Laramie on the other hand is a different scenario, if they were to get EVERY man woman and child to purchase tickets you would be looking at 568,000 people.

Why do we pour so much money into a program that we know wont generate revenue?

I would rather the U of Wyoming lower their (in state) tuition to pre-Hathaway levels, or better yet work on the academic side of the University. Instead they charge our children at minimum $17,000 minimum (and believe me you are lucky it this is the case) which puts the total for a 4 year BACHELORS degree at $68,000.

The University milks the state for funds, and bleeds the finances of its citizenry all for what, better education? better professors? Unfortunately it is bigger and better buildings, and sports-based infrastructure.

Coach C is the highest paid public employee in the State of Wyoming, and what does he bring to the table for 1.5 Mil? a win and a loss in the least prestigious bowl game in College sports. The recent stadium renovations focused on adding a press-box for the well-to-do at the state, an indoor field-house was built for the program, not to mention all the athletics infrastructure in Rochelle.

For What??? A proverbial "pin on our caps"?

Dave's tirade should serve as an eye-opener for the people of Wyoming, your children are dropping over 60,000 for a bachelor's degree (the quality of which has not increased.) Meanwhile the University takes its Hathaway funded profits and serves itself via new buildings, and a flagship football program that is at its best a terrible joke....it is time for UW to start working for the people of Wyoming and not for itself.

Pokes
Pokes

So with the drivel you've produced, both above and below, should CSU, UNLV, New Mexico, Nevada, SMU, UTEP, Minnesota, Indiana, Rice, SMU, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, CU, Wash State, Kansas, Iowa State and others also minimize the importance of football at their schools because of the relative inconsistency of their teams on the field?

Maybe people of your "ilk" don't get it, but most smart people at universities understand that athletics is the front door to their schools. It's a known fact that contributions increase when people/fans feel good about their sports teams. Athletics also stimulate local economies on game day. Maybe "you people" didn't know that.

Still shaking my head at the myopic views of a certain segment of comedians. But, then again, dull lives leads to dull thinking.

Yonk
Yonk

Who cares about Wyoming's winning percentages?

What I am saying is the University is spending a ridiculous amount of money on a program that is anything but the "front door" of UW, and if it is it is not beconing anyone to enter.

As far as your quasi-intellectual charade goes, you realize you are advocating the continued funding of this joke of a program via increasing tuition rates that the state of WY and the students will end up paying?

It may work for many other schools, you are not going to convince anyone to drop 68,000 at minimum to watch the Cowboys play..... non-athletes that choose a college based on its sporting venues are often the same ones making up the negative side of freshman retention rates.

Roy
Roy

I have no idea where you are getting your information for cost to attend UW, but books and tuition together for a resident cost about $5500. If you add room and board, you still don't get to $15000 (http://www.uwyo.edu/admissions/scholarships/cost-of-attendance.html). If you subtract the Hathaway money (which is a near impossibility to not get) I would suggest that UW is an incredibly inexpensive route to a quality education. Try going ANYWHERE else and getting such a deal for an education.

Fortunately, mindsets such as yours are such a tremendous minority that REAL fans of the University, both academic and athletic, need not worry about your opinion.

rgath
rgath

I am not a "fan", fair weather or otherwise. if my comments seem clueless to some, it is because we have different assumptions about the university.
I think UW is an academic institution, founded as a land grant college to help provide skills for the people who are working in the state.
many of you seem to think that UW is a football team with a pesky academic program tacked on to it.
most of the criticism of christensen seems to be that he loses football games, not that he's made wyoming's only university a laughingstock.
think about this: if he had been any other faculty member, say even a tenured professor, and had committed such an outrageous, obscene outburst at a school function in the course of performing his job, he would have been immediately fired.
only a football coach can get away with stuff like this.

Big Jake
Big Jake

I would imagine the reason he was not sent packing is because of his contract. In the infinite wisdom of another public official (attorney on payroll), there was most likely no morals clause or conduct clause (or something like this) to let him go within the contents of the contract.

With that said, had I been in Tom Burman's position, I would have suspended the coach for the rest of the season...it's not like this team is going to do anything spectacular this season. I would have then instructed legal counsel to begin work on getting rid of this overpaid, f-bombing clown.

I'm sure glad my kids are finished with that university. Also, I feel quite justified in tossing those Cowboy Joe Club flyers in the trash for the past 32 years.

Kevin Williams
Kevin Williams

I always liked Joe Glenn...good person and good coach. I realized that he was in trouble when he couldn't produce a consistent winner at UW. Too bad that the only bowl games won since Paul Roach retired were under Joe or a team made up of a majority of the players Joe brought to UW. I find it difficult to see "Cowboy Joe" being at the core of this type of controversy.

joebobjones
joebobjones

Here is the video in question:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=318_1350757268

rgath
rgath

thanks. this link should be forwarde to every member of the wyoming state legislature with a simple question: why is this man still the highest paid public employee in wyoming?

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.