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Wyoming coach humbled by suspension from football team

Oct 30, 2012 - The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- Saying his one-week suspension for his conduct after the Air Force game was humbling and difficult, Wyoming coach Dave Christensen apologized a second time for his actions and said he planned to coach the Cowboys for a "long time."

"Not being able to coach this football team was probably the most difficult pill I've ever had to swallow," Christensen said Monday. "These players mean the world to me, and so it's been a very humbling experience for me by what's gone on. There's no one else to blame for what happened for my emotional outburst except for myself."

The fourth-year head coach was fined $50,000 and suspended by the school over his conduct after a 28-27 loss to Air Force on Oct. 13 when he berated Falcons coach Troy Calhoun on the field, accusing Air Force of faking an injury to its starting quarterback in the fourth quarter in order to save a time out. In interviews with the media after the game, he accused the Falcons of unethical conduct.

The incident occurred on Wyoming's homecoming weekend and Military Appreciation game.

Christensen apologized the next day and coached the Oct. 20 game at Fresno State. But after a video of the confrontation went viral, the university announced the fine and suspension on Oct. 22.

Christensen said Monday that his suspension occurred a day after he talked to the team about how everyone will face trials and adversity in life.

"From this trial I'm going to be a better person, and I'm going to be a better football coach," he said.

In addition, Christensen said he has apologized directly to Calhoun. His initial apology on Oct. 14 didn't mention Calhoun.

Last week, when asked whether Christensen's suspension was appropriate, Calhoun said Wyoming has a "class operation all the way through" and that the important thing is to learn and move on.

Christensen said he watched at home on Saturday while Wyoming lost 45-14 to Boise State.

The week away from the program also "gave me a chance to soul search myself and try to make some positive changes in my life," he said.

"I also spent a lot of time analyzing our program," he said.

"My goal is to build the University of Wyoming into a consistent contender for the long haul.

I plan on being the head football coach at Wyoming for a long time."

The episode exacerbated a dismal season for the Cowboys (1-7, 0-4 Mountain West), who have no chance of getting to a bowl game.

Wyoming hosts Colorado State (2-6, 1-3) on Saturday.

Ex-UW athletes charged

Two former University of Wyoming athletes who were kicked off their teams after they were arrested and have been charged with theft-related crimes.

Former men's basketball player Shakir Smith faces one felony count of larceny for his alleged involvement in a burglary Sept. 29.

Former wrestler Patrick Martinez faces one misdemeanor count of wrongfully taking or disposing of property for allegedly having a stolen TV that belonged to the university's athletic department.

A news release from the UW athletics department after the players were dismissed said Cowboys basketball coach Larry Shyatt and wrestling coach Mark Branch wouldn't comment.

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