Wyoming’s Mark Branch has always been a Cowboy
STILLWATER, Okla., -- OK, this is my last little story from my trip to Oklahoma.
I'm sure you've had enough Oklahoma State University sports history to last you a lifetime. I know I have. However, I did run into a familiar face -- well, a photo or two, anyway -- at OSU's Heritage Hall inside Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater last week.
Recognize this guy?
Yep, that's current University of Wyoming head wrestling coach Mark Branch. He was indeed a two-time NCAA Champion -- and a four-time finalist and All-American -- at 167 pounds in an orange-and-black singlet. Something I didn't know is Branch (1994-97) was a four-time Academic All-American at OSU. That's impressive.
He also helped lead those Pokes to a national championship in 1994. Three years later he was named the Big XII Athlete of the Year.
Check out this story about Branch's miraculous '94 campaign on pistolsfiringblog.com.
Branch, who has been the head man in Laramie since 2008, boasts a 131-71 overall record at UW. The Cowboys are 66-25 inside the conference. Wyoming joined the Big XII back in 2015.
Branch, a Newkirk, Okla., native, became the 14th head coach in Wyoming history after spending the previous six seasons as an associate head coach in Stillwater -- 11 total as an assistant -- under the legendary John Smith. Branch helped lead those Cowboys to seven conference titles, four NCAA titles and three Dual Team Championships.
He has also coached 16 individual NCAA champions and 57 All-Americans.
Quite a resumé, huh?
Branch has turned Wyoming into a perennial Top-25 team in the nation. He's introduced us to All-Americans like Bryce Meredith, Joe LeBlanc and Stephen Buchanan, along with many, many others who have called Laramie home. He's one of the good ones.
Today also happens to be Branch's birthday. Give him a shoutout.
Happy Birthday, Coach!
University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players
- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players