University of Wyoming Hall of Fame member and former Kemmerer head football coach Vince Guinta passed away early Saturday morning at the age of 83.
Guinta’s family posted the news on social media and informed some of his former players. Funeral services at the Ball Family Chapel in Kemmerer are pending.
According to those close to the family, the former Cowboy passed peacefully at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah.
Guinta, a native of Brooklyn, New York, played a signal-calling linebacker at the University of Wyoming from 1954-56 and was described as a “terror on defense.” He was a two-time honorable mention All-American and helped lead the Cowboys to the 1955 Sun Bowl win and undefeated Skyline Championship in 1956.
A three-year letterman for coach Phil Dickens, Guinta was inducted into the University of Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017.
Former Kemmerer football player and current Lander head football coach John Scott told the Star-Tribune of the experience he had while playing for Guinta.
“You survived Coach Guinta,” Scott stated. “Then you realized later how valuable surviving that was.
“He was special to all of us that survived him. For all he did and for what he did for us, he has a real spot in Wyoming.”
Following his time in the National Football League, Guinta returned to Wyoming. He served as head football coach at Kemmerer from 1970-1976. The Rangers went 43-17 during that span and finished second in the state in the 1974 season when they finished 9-0.
During Guinta’s time at Kemmerer, he coached not only Scott but Steve Dover, a career 4,000-yard rusher and the first player to run for 2,000 yards in a season in Wyoming high school football. His 1974 total of 2,124 yards is still the fourth-most ever accrued in a season.
“It’s a really sad thing, he was really a good guy,” Dover said. “Pretty much, he squeezed every ounce of ability out of our high school teams because we were from the little town and on our team we had a really fantastic core of players.
“Coach Guinta wanted to make sure we played everyone so that people couldn’t say, ‘It’s just a little town,’ and we could show how good we were.”
Upon graduation from Kemmerer, Dover played at Notre Dame on a football scholarship. He credited Guinta, and his staff, with helping him develop as a football player.
Part of Guinta’s legacy is also his coaching tree, which includes former players like Scott and Wyoming legend Don Julian.
Some of Guinta’s assistant coaches include former Jackson head coach Jim Rooks and longtime Cokeville head coach Todd Dayton.
“He was an intense, tough player and coach,” Dover said. “He was very successful. It’s sad to hear he passed away.”