Wyoming AD Tom Burman suspends Dave Christensen, fines him $50k for Air Force comments

2012-10-22T17:00:00Z 2012-10-22T20:53:07Z Wyoming AD Tom Burman suspends Dave Christensen, fines him $50k for Air Force commentsBy the Star-Tribune staff Casper Star-Tribune Online
October 22, 2012 5:00 pm  • 

Wyoming Athletics Director Tom Burman suspended football coach Dave Christensen this week and fined him $50,000 for his profanity-laced outburst after the Air Force game on Oct. 13.

"After a long and difficult week of consideration, I believed it was in the best interest of the university and our athletics department to take this action," Burman read from a prepared statement. "The reputation of our university and our athletics program is of the utmost importance. Over the past week, I have reviewed the contract situation with our university legal department. I have spoken numerous times with (University of Wyoming) President (Tom) Buchanan and have consulted with other individuals in college athletics whom I respect.

"The other factor that was a very important consideration of mine was the well being of the young men in our football program. I think it is important to send the right message to them in terms of taking responsibility for your actions. This has been a difficult time for those young men."

Assistant Pete Kaligis will coach the 1-6 (0-3 Mountain West Conference) Cowboys this week; Christensen will not attend practices or be in the team's facilities leading to Saturday's game against No. 21 Boise State in Laramie.

"The program Christensen has installed is a fine-oiled machine," Kaligis said. "It rolls."

Burman added that Christensen will be the head coach at UW next year. When asked if Christensen's job was in jeopardy, Burman replied, "Not today."

A video of Christensen's exchange with Air Force coach Troy Calhoun was posted online on Thursday. As of Monday afternoon, the video had more than 105,000 views.

The video starts with Christensen cursing in the direction of the Air Force team before meeting Calhoun for the post-game handshake. He accuses Calhoun of having quarterback Connor Dietz fake an injury to buy the Air Force staff extra time before the go-ahead touchdown. Christensen then continues his tirade by personally attacking Calhoun.

"I'd be f------ scared to death if I had a f----- like you defending me," Christensen told Calhoun.

After being pulled away by his daughter toward the Wyoming locker room, Christensen finished by saying:

"Go get in your f------ press conference, fly boy."

The comments came on Wyoming's "Military Appreciation Day."

Christensen apologized to the school, fans and players the day after the Oct. 13 game and was reprimanded by the Mountain West Conference last week.

Burman, who reviewed video of the incident on Oct. 15, said the suspension's postponed timing was not tied to the fact that the same video he saw during his review recently appeared on YouTube. That clip, posted Thursday, now has more than 100,000 views.

"I didn't want to make a hasty decision," Burman said. There was no new evidence presented to me between Monday (Oct. 14) night to today, other than I needed time to reflect on it."

Burman said he made the decision Monday, then informed Christensen shortly after.

"He was devastated," Burman said. "Crushed. He took it in a fashion that, if you know Coach Christensen very well, you would expect."

The suspension brings added pressure on Christensen, whose fourth year at UW has turned from high expectations to a 1-6 start. In January, Christensen signed a five-year contract extension that includes a base salary of $190,008 and total compensation of up to $1.2 million per year through Dec. 31, 2016.

Burman said Monday the coach's job is not on the line.

"Not today," Burman said. "He will be evaluated at the end of the year, just like we do with every coach. But I can tell you that he is going to the head coach at Wyoming next year.

"I still feel confident Coach Christensen can build us a program that is what we expect," Burman continued. "He's been to two bowl games in the last three years. I would be misleading you if I said his actions against Air Force didn't damage him a little bit, both internally and externally, but I have confidence he can overcome it. He's a very driven guy. He is focused on what he wants to accomplish, which is a very good football program at Wyoming. He's created a hurdle, but I believe he can overcome it."

Burman said he is not yet sure where the money from Christensen's $50,000 fine will go.

Two Wyoming players attended the announcement. A UW spokesman said no other players will be available for interviews the rest of the week.

"The university did what it thought what was right," Wyoming senior center Nick Carlson said. "There are a lot of people that care about the Steamboat, about the University of Wyoming, and the image that we portray."

"We're trying to stay focused," Carlson added. "Obviously it is another distraction for our team."

Shortly after the conclusion of Burman's announcement, Buchanan issued a release that said he stood behind the decision to suspend and fine Christensen.

“I fully support Athletics Director Tom Burman’s decision to suspend and fine our head football coach, Dave Christensen, as a result of Christensen’s unacceptable and inappropriate behavior following our Homecoming game against the Air Force Academy. Such action does not reflect the values and the integrity of our athletics program or of the University of Wyoming.”

Read more about this story in Tuesday's Star-Tribune.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(10) Comments

  1. DISABLED VET
    Report Abuse
    DISABLED VET - October 26, 2012 11:27 am
    His $50,000 fine should go to the local Chapter of Disabled American Veterans (DAV).
  2. josey38
    Report Abuse
    josey38 - October 24, 2012 8:04 pm
    50,000 dlars and a week suspension isn't enough for this loser. His example after the game is branded on minds and always will be. A new beginning is badly needed for the Pokes.
  3. MattWilliams
    Report Abuse
    MattWilliams - October 24, 2012 6:28 am
    One-game suspension? That's not much of a penalty in light of Coach Christensen's tirade and extremely poor display of leadership for the Wyoming players. If I were a father with a son looking at potential universities to play for, I would discourage him from considering Wyoming. The preparation necessary to win games teaches players important lessons that they carry forward into life; but players learn as much, if not more, more about life's lessons from losing. So, how a coach handles those losses is important in demonstrating effective leadership. Even if Christensen's suspicions regarding Air Force's delaying antics are true, they do not justify his profanity-laden outburst and abuse of others. This guy is classless. The Wyoming administration should be looking for a replacement for 2013.
  4. Buffalo Native
    Report Abuse
    Buffalo Native - October 23, 2012 7:03 pm
    nckwfan, I agree completely. Coach Dave's response wasn't ideal, but I'm sure he'll have learned from this and won't repeat it. (Btw, Woody Hayes used to get away with murder compared to Christensen's little rant.) And let's face it, Air Force was playing some dirty pool with those tactics. They don't get a pass just because they're a service academy. (Although perhaps a complaint to the NCAA would have been considerably more appropriate). But the bottom line is he's a good coach. He's taken the Pokes to two bowl games (with one win) in his first three years here. This was a program that had one winning season in the previous nine years before he got here; and had been to only two bowls in the prior nineteen years (with no wins). To those commenters who've said the Cowboys don't belong in Division I because they can't compete with the Floridas and Alabamas of the world, well that's just ignorant. If that's your measure, then 75% of the Division I schools don't belong there. Wyoming can compete respectably in its conference. Realistically, winning two-thirds or more of its games and getting to a bowl is a great season for the program, fun to watch, and fun to attend the bowl around the holidays. And for the most part, Christensen's been able to provide that so far. For those who'd want to replace him, be careful what you wish for. Other programs would love to have him (hence New Mexico sniffing around at the end of last season as to his availability.) As nckwfan alluded to, it's not as though other coaches are dying to come to Laramie. For the commenter who referenced Coach Roach, yeah sure, it's easy to point to the single most successful coach in your program's 120 year history and say, "we need to get another guy like that." I'm sure Notre Dame wishes they could get another Knute Rockne. It's not going to happen. (Not to mention it was easier to recruit and compete in the NCAA of Roach's era).
  5. p16
    Report Abuse
    p16 - October 22, 2012 10:48 pm
    This comes a week late!. I'm sure if that clip didn't make youTube nothing would have been said. To have a coach lose his cool and go off on players and the opposing coach like that? Burman is a spineless and weak AD. He should have fired the coach on Monday after the game and been done with it. It is all about money with the Athletic Department and trying to be a winning program, but at what cost? Besides, any coach that loses a big lead by trying to throw the ball in the rain, probably isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer.
  6. Wyoming Native endangered species
    Report Abuse
    Wyoming Native endangered species - October 22, 2012 6:47 pm
    I agree Dk, they do not belong in Div 1. It is sad a coach says that to one of our armed forces that has a lot more on their mind than football. I wonder about the timing too. Suspend him before they get stomped by Boise State and then blame it on the Asst coach. I think he needs to go. I never have cared for the guy.
  7. DK
    Report Abuse
    DK - October 22, 2012 5:21 pm
    Wyoming does not belong in Division 1. The days of the past are long gone. A place like laramie will never be able to recruit and compete with the likes of Ohio State, Notre Dame, Florida, and Alabama! Big Sky is the answer and maybe we could get more Wyoming kids on the team.
  8. TJazz
    Report Abuse
    TJazz - October 22, 2012 5:13 pm
    @nckwfan

    While I agree with most of your post, I don't agree that THIS is the coach we should keep. We should have kept coach Glenn. Joe cared about Laramie in SO many ways, and donated SO much time to the community. He brought "pokes pride" from being just a phrase into being a reality here in Laramie. He is responsible for bringing back "Powder River / Let 'er buck!" to the chants...he brought the flags to downtown on game days - which are still used today. He visited the Ivinson Home for Ladies AT LEAST once a week, to play piano, sing, and chat with them. He personally visited the marching band each year, and told them how much he appreciated their efforts. He stretched his neck out to every single person in the city of Laramie on a personal level. He didn't win games, but at least he added to Laramie and brought the pride back to Laramie/UW.

    Dave can't hold a candle to what Glenn did for UW and the city of Laramie. Dave came to town and introduced himself by publicly dissing everything Glenn had done.

    The one GOOD thing Dave has done...is the job of recruiting. However, it is either his recruiting which has brought dirtier playing, or his coaching - not sure which, but I can't recall a time we've had a quarterback get ejected due to technical fouls before. Then, the coach on military APPRECIATION day calling them "fly boys" and cursing them out, saying they lack ethics?! Come on. This guy deserves to go because he has personally displayed bad judgment on multiple levels...not just because of his coaching, but because of his personal traits, and how the team is following him downhill.

    We had great teams back when Paul Roach ran the ship. We didn't play dirty. We didn't lose games. We got great recruits. We won (dominated) with pride. I don't see that ever happening with Dave at the helm. So while I agree with 95% of what you say - I don't think Dave is the guy we really want to stand behind.
  9. nckwfan
    Report Abuse
    nckwfan - October 22, 2012 4:38 pm
    Let me ramble here: This is fair, but why the delay? What took UW so long? I would bet Steamboat that if UW would have won their last game (or at least made it close) the fine and suspension would have never happened. Folks, we have the right head coach. We need to learn from this. This will pass; like a kidney stone. But we will get passed this. Also I find it interesting that there was not one word from the MWC? Also, I'm tired of going through coaches every four years. The last 2 or 3 FB and BB coaches have been fired. That gets expensive. Fans, UW and the media got what they asked for years ago when Joe Glenn and Steve McClain were fired. So if ya want coach Dave to be fired, be careful what you wish for. It must be harder than hell to recruit at UW in any sport. Laramie is not a beautiful city. It is cold, windy and can't keep head coaches in major sports. Plus look at the pay in comparison to schools around us. It is not going to ever be a powerhouse. Hell, we can't even make up our minds what conference we want to be in!! Coach Dave is great for us, he just needs to settle down. Now cowboy up! ...Oh, those kidney stones hurt! But they pass.
  10. pokes-wyo
    Report Abuse
    pokes-wyo - October 22, 2012 4:34 pm
    Suspended and fined? Huh. If I acted that way at my job, I'd be instantly fired.
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Go Pokes on Facebook

Featured Businesses

Latest Offers