Sept. 9, 2009
While many members of the Texas staff and team will be making their first trip to Wyoming when the Longhorns face the Cowboys on Saturday, UT wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy has fond memories of Laramie and the university.
In 1993 and 1994, Kennedy coached the wide receivers there, which was his first full-time job after graduate assistant positions at Penn State and Illinois, but he already had a connection to Wyoming football after growing up in nearby Boulder, Colo.
"I knew about Wyoming Cowboy football and coach (Fred) Akers, coach (Dennis) Erickson and coach (Paul) Roach and the WAC Championships and how good they had been, but I had never been to Laramie," Kennedy said. "So when I came in for my interview, I felt comfortable right away and it was close to home. I felt honored they were having me in, but I also had heard great things about coach (Joe) Tiller and his staff. It was a good experience."
Kennedy's first season there in 1993 resulted in an 8-4 record, a WAC Championship and a trip to the Copper Bowl. The Cowboys earned that conference championship with a 43-38 road win over Marshall Faulk and San Diego State in the last regular season game.
"It was a magical year, because not only were they a great team, along with the 1994 team, they were really quality people we coached," Kennedy recalled. "I remember Ryan Christopherson and Ryan Yarborough and Marcus Harris. They were just great guys."
All three of those players were drafted into the NFL, while Yarborough was the nation's second-leading receiver in 1993, and Harris led the nation in receiving yards in 1994. Harris went on to win the 1996 Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top wide receiver.
"I look back on my time there as a really formative time in my coaching career, because I was a young guy," Kennedy said. "They were such good people though, and they made it easy for a young guy coming in."
Although the facilities have changed with a new indoor practice field and new offices, Kennedy will still have fond feelings when he arrives. It is something he has discussed with former Wyoming coach Joe Glenn, who coached Kennedy as a player at Northern Colorado, one of his many connections to both past and present staffs.
"It's always great going back and seeing people you know and going back to a place you coached," Kennedy said. "I've been back one or two times since I left, but it's neat to go back and see how things have changed.
"I was really fortunate to have my first full-time job at Wyoming because it was such a good program, and it is such a good program. They have such good people there."
The tradition of the program and the passion of the fans is a message both he and former Texas and Wyoming head coach Fred Akers have delivered to the Longhorns this week.
"Football is important at Wyoming, and the people at the University of Wyoming and in the state know football, and they know what good football is," Kennedy said. "It will be exciting."