Wyoming’s Craig Bohl Remembers the Late Paul Roach
LARAMIE -- Craig Bohl said he talked to three coaches before he accepted the head coaching position at Wyoming back in 2014.
Bob Devaney, Joe Tiller and Paul Roach.
"Pretty good threesome there," Bohl said with a smile.
One, however, had the most success during his tenure on the sidelines in Laramie.
"I spent quite a bit of time with coach Roach," he continued. "You know, some things change, but some things are still the same. He gave me great insight on what he thought the successful attributes would be for the Cowboy football program, because we kind of lost our way.
"... You know what, coach Roach is a legend, and he enjoyed a national reputation. He was really helpful for me."
A memorial service for Roach will be held at St. Paul's Newman Center Thursday in Laramie. The remembrance will begin at 10 a.m. A reception in the Wildcatter Stadium Club and Suites high above Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium will follow.
Roach died on Sept. 3 in Pullman, Wash., surrounded by his family. He was 95.
The only man in program history to serve as both the head coach and athletics director, Roach led the Cowboys to back-to-back Western Athletic Conference championships in 1987 and '88. His teams went 8-0 in league play in both of those seasons. They lost just five games.
Wyoming made an appearance in the postseason in three of Roach's four years at the helm, including consecutive trips to the Holiday Bowl. In 1990, the Cowboys played in the Copper Bowl.
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Roach capped his brief but impactful head coaching career with an overall record of 35-15, six of those losses coming during the 1989 campaign. He also served as the school's AD from 1986 through 1996. His vision led to the construction of the Rochelle Athletics Center and he helped establish the UW Athletics Hall of Fame. He was inducted into that inclusive club in 1999.
Roach also spent time in Laramie as an offensive coordinator under Lloyd Eaton, leading the Cowboys to unprecedented success, including a trip to the 1968 Sugar Bowl. Those teams claimed three straight WAC titles from 1966-68. That first championship squad knocked off Florida State in the Sun Bowl.
When Roach left Wyoming in 1969, he coached two years (1970-71) at the University of Wisconsin, then accepted a position with the Oakland Raiders of the NFL in 1972. As a member of John Madden’s staff from 1972-74, Roach helped lead the Raiders to three Western Division titles and one AFC Championship game appearance.
Following a two-year stint (1975-76) as offensive coordinator for Bart Starr with the Green Bay Packers, Roach was named backfield coach with the Denver Broncos and served in that capacity from 1977 through 1980.
During his time in Denver the Broncos played in Super Bowl XII, which was their first Super Bowl appearance at the conclusion of the 1977 season.
"A prince of a guy," Bohl said. "He always had a bounce in his step, he had great wisdom and always a twinkle in his eye. So, you know, he lived a full life."
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* A UW press release contributed to this report
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