Which Wyoming Cowboy wore it best? No. 64
CHEYENNE — Do you ever see a number on a Wyoming football jersey and think of all the great players to wear it? Yeah, me too. In this daily series, I’ll give you my take on which Pokes’ football player was the best ever to don each number. The criteria are simple: How did he perform at UW? What kind of impact did he have on the program?
No. 64 – Fran Miknis
Offensive guard, 1958-60, DuBois, Penn.
Résumé in Laramie
Fran Miknis went 25-6 during his tenure as an offensive guard for Bob Devaney's Wyoming Cowboy football team. He helped lead the Pokes to a Sun Bowl victory, the third bowl appearance in school history, in 1958. Miknis was the first academic All-American in school history, joining teammate, Marty Hamilton. Miknis, along with the 1959 team, were inducted into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame.
Fran Miknis lost just six games during his three-year career in Laramie. Just two -- back-to-back losses to Air Force in 1958 and '59 -- were by more than one score.
The other four were lost by a combined 10 points.
Bob Devaney had things humming on the high plains. in 1958, Miknis, then a sophomore, helped lead the Pokes to a 14-6 Sun Bowl victory over Hardin-Simmons.
Lining up next to guys like Sun Bowl MVP, Leonard Kuczewski, Miknis opened holes for guys like Jim Walden, Bob Sawyer, Dick Hamilton, Mark Smolinski, Chuck Lamson, and the great Jerry Hill.
Despite finishing with a 17-3 record in his last two seasons, Miknis and the Cowboys did not receive a bowl invite. Even with a record of 9-1 and ranked 16th in the nation, Wyoming stayed home for the holidays in 1959. Despite that, this team is in the school's Athletic Hall of Fame.
Miknis also added another plaque to his mantle. During his senior campaign, he was named an Academic All-American, joining teammate, Marty Hamilton, as the program's first selections in history.
Miknis never earned All-Conference honors. Then again, no one from the Sun Bowl championship team did. By 1961, the year after Miknis graduated, 14 Cowboys earned post-season recognition.
The former star at Kemmerer High School, Jon Cogdill (1986-88), was a long snapper, center and guard for the Cowboys, winning back-to-back Western Athletic Conference championships and earning repeat trips to the Holiday Bowl.
Cogdill was known for his toughness on the gridiron, but where he really stood out was on the wrestling mat. Cogdill made the NCAA Finals all four years in Laramie. He was a three-time WAC Champion and was named Wrestler of the Year as a senior. Another feather in his cap was taking down a young wrestler from Ricks College named Rulon Gardner.
In 1985, Cogdill was the Milward Simpson Award recipient. That honor goes to the Outstanding Male Athlete in Wyoming. He is also in the UW Athletics Hall of Fame with the 1987 WAC title winning football team.
Cogdill went on to become an Agriculture teacher at Chadron High School in Nebraska.
Former Wyoming head coach Dana Dimel said Wednesday that Mike Irvin (99-02) was one of the toughest players he ever coached. Irvin never earned All-Conference accolades or went to a bowl game, but he did represent a steady presence on the Cowboys' offensive line during a dark time in the program's history.
In 1999, Dimel's final season on the sideline in Laramie, the Cowboys went 7-4 and once again were left out in the cold when it came to the bowl selection committee. Irvin, along with Rob Kellerman and Adam Goldberg, were freshman starters on that team.
The next three seasons, Wyoming would win just five games under Vic Koenning.
Who else wore No. 64
John Maffoni (G), Dan Hansen (G), Carl Christensen (OG), Andy Yoesling (OG), Ken Boris (DE), Wayne Meylan (OG), Charlie Ruff (C), Brian Trautwein (LB), Dylan Hager (SS-LB), Ben Penfold (OL), Travis Hillen (OL), Charlie Renfree (C-OG), Zach Thatcher (OL)
All available rosters and photos courtesy of the University of Wyoming. If we missed one, please email Cody@7220sports.com.