LARAMIE — He doesn’t miss it. Not even a little bit.
Austin Conway is in the midst of his final spring at Wyoming. By the end of the year his collegiate football career will be over, though it wasn’t first sport of choice with the Cowboys.
Conway came to Wyoming in 2015 as a quick yet undersized point guard for then-coach Larry Shyatt. Yet nearly four years later, there’s nothing surprising about him winding down his time with the Cowboys on the gridiron.
At least not for him.
“I knew that I was going to play football again,” Conway said. “I didn’t know when it was going to happen, but I knew I was going to play football again. It’s almost like it happened a lot sooner than I thought it was going to, but it happened.”
Conway never wanted to leave football behind coming out of Colorado’s Overland High. A dual-threat quarterback in every sense of the phrase, the speedy Conway accounted for more than 4,800 yards of offense his last two seasons at Overland.
Scholarship offers came in both sports, including some from Power Five schools. But if Conway was going to continue to playing football in college, he didn’t want to do it at another position.
The problem was everybody recruiting him for football planned to move the 5-foot-10 Conway to receiver or defensive back.
“I was a 5-9, 5-10 guy with shoes on, and no one wanted a 5-10 quarterback,” he said. “And I didn’t want to be a receiver. If I can’t play quarterback, I’ll go play point guard.”
So that’s what Conway did as a freshman in 2015, though he redshirted that season and never played a game for the Cowboys. Before basketball season even ended, Conway began to second-guess his decision.
Conway made a few trips to Denver that spring to work out with his brother, former Northern Colorado defensive back Korey Askew. That’s when reality kicked in.
“My brother was like, ‘You’re playing the wrong sport.’ And I agreed with him,” Conway said. “I was playing the wrong sport because I love being out here.”
Conway said he officially made the switch on March 21, 2016 — the same day Shyatt announced his resignation as head men’s basketball coach. The next day, he informed Shyatt’s replacement, Allen Edwards, of his decision. And after a conversation with football assistant A.J. Cooper, who had first talked to Conway about playing football at Wyoming during his recruitment, Conway was invited out for a workout by the football staff.
“Right before my freshman year, he was like, ‘I’m about to come to football,’” said safety Alijah Halliburton, a teammate of Conway’s at Overland. “I’m like, ‘What? OK, do it like the old days.’ I remember the old days. He was the quarterback back then, but he used to just run around guys and do his thing.”
Conway wasn’t sure what position he would play, but he knew it wouldn’t be quarterback. At that point, Conway didn’t really care.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Conway said. “I did receiver drills, and I did DB drills. It was just Coach Bohl’s decision.”
Conway joined the football team as a receiver by the end of that spring and has been there ever since. He’s also been used as a punt returner, but the fifth-year senior figures to once again be one of the top targets for either Sean Chambers or Tyler Vander Waal after leading the Cowboys in receptions (32) last season.
Conway has been out most of the spring after sustaining a hamstring injury the second week of practice, but he returned last week. The goal heading into his final season is to bring some respectability back to a receiving corps that underwhelmed last season for an offense that tied Air Force for the fewest passing yards per game in the Mountain West.
“I really believe our receiving corps is really talented,” Conway said. “I believe we’re capable of making a lot of explosive plays, but we have to get those opportunities. And I hope we can get those opportunities.”
As for basketball, Conway said he rarely thinks about it anymore. He said Wyoming’s non-conference tilt against South Carolina back in December is the only game he’s attended in the three years since making the switch.
It’s a move he can honestly say he’s made with no regrets.
“I don’t miss it at all,” he said.