Wyoming’s Un-Sweet 16: No. 4 Frank Arnold vs. No. 13 Lee Cummard
LARAMIE -- There's a few things that can land you on a list like this one.
Beating Wyoming with regularity certainly makes you a thorn in the side. Making stupid decisions will also draw the ire of fans. Being an all-round jerk will do it, too.
This is our version of the Un-Sweet 16, pitting the biggest villains in Wyoming Cowboys basketball history against one another and eventually crowning the worst of the worst. This won't be our opinion, it's yours. You can vote for who will advance to the next round by clicking on the box at the bottom of this page.
We did our best to round up the ultimate enemy of the Cowboy State. We reached out to people in the know, from different decades of UW hoops. Don't be surprised to see plenty of rivals on this list.
Here's today's matchup:
No. 4 Frank Arnold vs. No. 13 Lee Cummard
One word landed Frank Arnold on this list -- Despicable.
That's what BYU's head coach called the Wyoming fanbase in 1981 after the Cowboys knocked off the No. 15 Cougars 86-84 in double overtime inside the War Memorial Stadium Fieldhouse.
Here is an excerpt from a Deseret News article titled "Harassment reaches high, fans stoop low."
"The biggest perpetrators - at least as far as BYU is concerned - are the Wyoming fans. In the old Wyoming basketball arena, the court was mounted on a dirt rodeo floor, lending an air of recklessness to the proceedings. Fans chanted anti-BYU obscenities en masse whenever the Cougars came to town.
Of course, nobody had more talent at attracting abuse than former BYU coach Frank Arnold. Arnold would call time out and glare into the crowd, attempting to point out to security officials which fan was throwing things at him. The moment he'd turn back, the abuse rose to the next level. Fans would hold pennies with tweezers, heating them up until they were red hot and then flip them at the BYU bench. Players were also pelted with rotten fruit, game programs and other materials.
Arnold became so disgusted with the behavior of Wyoming's fans, he termed the crowd "despicable." For years after Arnold left BYU, the Wyoming crowd would gleefully chant "We're despicable!" whenever BYU came to town."
Was Arnold loathed? You bet.
The Ogden, Utah native coached in Provo from 1975-83, winning 137 games. He led the Cougars to the NCAA Tournament three times, including during that '81 season when Danny Ainge sank a last-second shot to knock off Notre Dame to advance to the Elite Eight.
In 16 meetings with the Cowboys, Arnold featured a 10-6 record. Arnold's contract was not renewed after BYU finished just a game over .500 during the 1982-83 season. He eventually took the head coaching job at Hawaii in '85. In two seasons on the islands, Arnold racked up an 11-45 record.
Wyoming beat the Rainbow Warriors in all four meetings.
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"My man, Lee Cummard."
Those were the first words out of Brandon Ewing's mouth when asked about the former BYU shooting guard, who suited up in Provo from 2005-09.
Of course, Ewing isn't being serious. How could he be? Cummard and the Cougars won all nine meetings, including booting the Pokes from the second round of the 2007 Mountain West Tournament. Cummard netted 21 points that night and was 6-of-8 from the field.
In his final meeting against Wyoming in 2009, he attempted a career-high 15 free throws, sinking 13. He finished with 24 points in a 78-68 victory in Laramie.
"Anytime you play for BYU you’re a villain, so he had that going for him," Ewing joked. "Then he would always hit big shots and talk trash at the same time. It made you hate Lee -- with a passion. He was good, he was skilled, but the fact that he knew it made him a villain."
Cummard's appearance also made him an easy target. He stood 6-foot-7 and weighed just 190 pounds. He sported a baggy uniform and sweatbands on his wrists. His sly smile reeked of arrogance, but he had the game to back it up.
Cummard was named the Co-Mountain West Player of the Year in 2008. Twice he was a first-team All-Conference selection.
The Mesa, Ariz., native wasn't selected in the 2009 NBA Draft but went on to play eight years in a number of different leagues. He returned to Provo in 2016 where he became a graduate assistant. In 2019, he landed his first coaching gig. He is an assistant for the BYU women's team.
WYOMING'S UN-SWEET 16 SERIES:
Monday: No. 1 Reid Family vs. No. 16 Paco Larsen
Tuesday: No. 2 Danny Ainge vs. No. 15 Antonio Davis
Wednesday: No. 3 Rick Majerus vs. No. 14 David Turcotte