UW hires AJ Blazek as new offensive line coach
LARAMIE -- University of Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl announced on Monday the hiring of AJ Blazek as the Cowboys’ new offensive line coach.
Blazek comes to Wyoming from North Dakota State where he was part of the Bison’s 2019 Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) National Championship Team.
He will replace Bart Miller, who last week was hired to coach the same position at the University of Illinois.
Prior to that, Blazek was the offensive line coach at Rutgers University of the Big Ten Conference for three seasons from 2016-18, including serving as assistant head coach in 2017 and ‘18.
“AJ (Blazek) enjoys an excellent national reputation as an offensive line coach and recruiter,” said Bohl. “He will be a great addition to our offensive coaching staff as we continue to move Wyoming football forward.
"As we continue to re-engineer our offense entering the 2021 season, AJ will bring great value to our offense.”
Bohl added that Blazek enjoyed an outstanding collegiate playing career at the University of Iowa, where he was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, was voted a team captain and was named the All-Big Ten center his senior season.
A native of Wichita, Kan., he also earned Junior College All-America honors at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kan., before finishing his collegiate career at Iowa.
“I’m so excited to join Coach Bohl and his staff at Wyoming,” said Blazek. “Having been here at NDSU and knowing what Coach built and accomplished here before he moved to Wyoming, I’m extremely excited to be part of that culture. Coach Bohl is someone who makes establishing the line of scrimmage a priority, and for an offensive line coach you couldn’t ask for more.
“Also being a kid growing up in Kansas when Wyoming was a really successful program, I’ve followed Wyoming Football for years and understand the tradition that is Cowboy Football.
“I can’t wait to join a program where the whole offensive line group is returning. That group has had success the last several years, and to now have an opportunity to help those guys continue to grow is something I’m really looking forward to.”
In 2019, Blazek joined the North Dakota State University football staff as the offensive line coach.
His offensive line unit helped the Bison set a school-record, with 4,601 rushing yards. NDSU posted a perfect 16-0 record in 2019, won its ninth consecutive Missouri Valley Football Conference championship and captured its eighth NCAA FCS national Title in nine years.
With three new starters on the offensive line and another moving from tackle to guard, the Bison were still dominant up front in 2019. North Dakota State ranked fourth in the FCS in rushing offense (287.6 ypg) and fifth in fewest sacks allowed (0.81/game), while leading the FCS in fewest tackles for loss allowed (3.56/game).
Blazek came to NDSU after three seasons in the Big Ten as the offensive line coach at Rutgers, where he was the assistant head coach his final two seasons.
He served as the offensive line coach at Western Illinois from 2013 to 2015 and was run-game coordinator his final two years.
Blazek spent four seasons at Winona State as the offensive line coach (2009-10) and the co-offensive coordinator, offensive line and tight ends coach for the 2011-12 seasons.
Blazek was selected by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) as the 2012 Division II Assistant Coach of the Year at Winona State after being named a finalist for the same award in 2011.
Prior to coaching at Winona State, he was the offensive line coach and strength and conditioning coordinator at Fort Hays State in Hays, Kan., from 2005 to 2008 and served as the offensive coordinator his final three seasons.
Blazek began his coaching career at Iowa as an offensive student assistant in 2001, defensive graduate assistant in 2002 and offensive graduate assistant in 2003 and 2004.
A native of Wichita, Kan., he graduated from Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in health, leisure and sport studies in 2002 and earned a master’s degree in recreation and sport administration from Iowa in 2004.
He and his wife, Kyla, have four children: Cooper, Macey, Reece and Quincy.
AJ Blazek Year-by-Year Coaching History
Year School Position
2002-04 Iowa Graduate Assistant
2005 Fort Hays State Offensive Line
2006-08 Fort Hays State Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
2009-10 Winona State Offensive Line
2011-12 Winona State Co-Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line/Tight Ends
2013 Western Illinois Offensive Line
2014-15 Western Illinois Run-Game Coordinator/Offensive Line
2016 Rutgers Offensive Line
2017-18 Rutgers Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line
2019 North Dakota State Offensive Line