Wyoming Cowboys make football staff changes

Wyo FB Staduim 2020.JPG
Posted at 8:18 AM, Jan 25, 2022

(Editor's note: UW Athletics release)

LARAMIE, Wyo. - University of Wyoming head football coach Craig Bohl has announced the promotion of Mike Grant to associate head coach and the hiring of Nick Fulton as Wyoming’s new associate athletics director for football operations.

Grant has been on the Wyoming coaching staff since 2016. The 2022 season will be Grant's seventh season with the Cowboys and his 30th in college coaching. He will continue to serve as the Offensive Passing Game Coordinator and Wide Receivers Coach for the Pokes.

"Mike's overall collegiate experience has been valued greatly here at Wyoming," said Bohl. "We look forward to him taking on an even larger role in mentoring our players and other members of our football staff as he takes on this new role as Associate Head Coach."

"I am extremely grateful to Coach Bohl and the administration of the University of Wyoming for this opportunity and for the expanded responsibility as Associate Head Coach," said Grant. "I look forward to providing valued leadership to our athletic program, focusing on excellence and pursuing critical steps for attaining success. I consider it an honor to work with a dedicated staff and a group of young men in their development as athletes and individuals.

"Wyoming and this University are special to me. I look forward to the 2022 season and appreciate the enthusiastic support of our loyal Cowboy fans. Go Pokes!"

During his time at Wyoming, Grant has coached former Cowboy standout receivers Tanner Gentry, Isaiah Neyor, Austin Conway, Jake Maulhardt and Raghib Ismail Jr.

Over his previous 29 seasons as a college coach, Grant has helped the teams he has coached to 16 bowl bids, including four bowl appearances at Wyoming in his first six seasons with the Cowboys. Grant has been part of 21 total bowl appearances, including five as a player at his alma mater, the University of Nebraska, where he played quarterback for the Huskers.

In his four seasons (1993-96) as a recruiting assistant and graduate assistant at Nebraska, he was part of Husker teams that won National Championships in 1994 and '95. Nebraska posted back-to-back undefeated seasons in 1994 (13-0) and '95 (12-0), and recorded an 11-2 record in 1996, finishing that season ranked No. 6 in the national polls. He was on the same staff at Nebraska in 1995 and '96 as Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl.

Grant helped guide a Wyoming offense in 2021 that featured a strong rushing attack and explosive down-the-field passing game that resulted in Wyoming capturing the 2021 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Championship. The Cowboys ranked No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 20 nationally in rushing offense, averaging 211.7 yards per game. The passing game saw the Pokes average 13.06 yards per pass completion, which ranked No. 4 in the conference and 38th nationally. UW was also one of the most effective teams in third-down situations, converting 43.4 percent of its third-down opportunities to rank No. 4 in the league and No. 36 among 130 FBS programs in the country. Wyoming's offense allowed only 1.69 sacks per game to rank No. 2 in the MW and No. 31 nationally and allowed an average of only 4.38 tackles for loss per game, which was second best in the conference and 18th best nationally. Wide receiver Isaiah Neyor earned Second Team All-Mountain West honors while scoring 12 receiving touchdowns to rank No. 1 in the MW and No. 8 among FBS players. Neyor also led the conference and ranked No. 6 in the country in receiving yards per catch, averaging 19.95 yards per reception. He averaged 67.5 receiving yards per game to rank No. 7 in the Mountain West.

The 2020 Wyoming offense ranked No. 7 in the nation in passing yards per completion, averaging 14.84 yards. UW was also No. 14 in the NCAA in rushing offense, averaging 219.5 rushing yards per game. The Cowboy offense scored on 88.5 percent of its red-zone opportunities to rank No. 32 among FBS teams, and the Pokes committed only nine turnovers to rank No. 24 in the nation in fewest turnovers. Wide receiver Neyor earned Honorable Mention All-Mountain West Conference honors in 2020.

The 2019 season saw the Cowboy offense rank No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 23 in the nation in rushing offense, averaging 214. 8 yards per game. The Cowboy offense also ranked No. 10 in the NCAA in passing yards per completion (14.75 yards per completion), No. 14 in fewest tackles for loss allowed (4.62 per game), No. 26 in fewest fumbles lost (6), No. 32 in third-down conversions (43.3 percent), No. 32 in fewest sacks allowed (1.62 per game) and No. 33 in fewest turnovers committed (15). The Cowboys concluded the season with an 8-5 record and captured the Arizona Bowl Championship. Grant coached senior punt returner and wide receiver Austin Conway, who earned Second Team All-Mountain West honors as a punt returner.

In 2018, the Wyoming Cowboys would win their last four games of the season to earn bowl eligibility at 6-6. In spite of the UW offense being in transition after former Cowboy quarterback Josh Allen became the No. 7 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Wyoming offense hit its stride during a four-game winning streak to end the 2018 season. During that four-game win streak, the Pokes averaged 31.0 points and 415.5 yards per game. UW's 2018 offense also ranked No. 1 in the MW and No. 4 in the nation in fewest turnovers, committing only 11 total turnovers for the year.

Grant helped coach a Wyoming offense in 2017 that was extremely efficient in the red zone, scoring on 33 of 34 red-zone opportunities to rank No. 2 in the nation. The offense also did an excellent job of protecting the ball, committing only 14 turnovers to rank No. 19 in the country. UW's offense combined with its defense (38 turnovers forced) to rank No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin, with a +24 turnover margin. Wyoming recorded eight wins for the second straight season, and the Pokes posted a convincing 37-14 win in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl over Central Michigan. In that bowl victory, all three of Wyoming's offensive touchdowns came on touchdown passes to Wyoming wide receivers.

Grant's first year at Wyoming was the 2016 season. The Cowboys won the Mountain Division of the MW in 2016 and earned the right to host the Mountain West Championship Game as the highest ranked team in the conference. Wyoming went on to earn a bid to the 2016 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. That season saw the Pokes average 35.9 points per game to rank No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 25 in the nation. The Wyoming passing game, guided by quarterback Josh Allen, averaged 15.3 yards per completion in 2016 to rank No. 8 in the NCAA. In the red zone, the Pokes converted 90.6 percent of their red-zone opportunities into scores to rank 14th in the country. Wyoming's offense also ranked No. 1 in the MW and No. 22 in the NCAA in first downs, with 312, was No. 32 in the nation in time of possession (31:34), ranked No. 33 in the country in passing efficiency (143.82 rating) and No. 36 in the nation in rushing offense, averaging 205.4 yards per game.

Tanner Gentry was named Second Team All-Mountain West as a wide receiver in 2016. Gentry was named to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List. He caught 14 touchdown passes to lead the Mountain West and rank No. 9 in the nation. Gentry's 1,326 receiving yards in 2016 also led the MW and ranked 12th in the NCAA. His 94.7 receiving yards per game, ranked him No. 21 nationally. He ended his career ranked No. 5 on the Wyoming career receiving yards list (2,815 yards) and his 1,326 receiving yards in 2016 ranked as the sixth best single-season total in school history. Gentry also ranks No. 4 in school history in career TD receptions (20) and No. 8 in career receptions (180). Gentry is currently a member of the Buffalo Bills along with Allen. In 2016, Grant also coached senior wide receiver Jake Maulhardt, who was invited to the New Orleans Saints rookie camp in the spring of 2017.

Grant earned his first full-time coaching position in 1997, coaching the wide receivers and tight ends at James Madison University. Grant will be entering his 25th season coaching at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level, including: nine seasons at Iowa State (1998-06), one season at Southern Miss (2007), three at Western Michigan (2008-10), five seasons at North Texas (2011-15) and now entering his seventh season at Wyoming (2016-Present).

While at North Texas, Grant started out as the running backs coach for two seasons in 2011 and '12. As the running backs coach, Grant coached Lance Dunbar, who became the career rushing leader in North Texas history and earned All-Sun Belt Conference honors. Grant took over as the wide receivers coach from 2013-15 and added recruiting coordinator responsibilities in 2014 and '15. Among the top receivers he coached at North Texas were Brelan Chancellor, who in 2013 became the first player in Conference USA history to earn First Team All-Conference honors as both a punt returner and kickoff returner. Chancellor also earned Second Team All-Conference honors at wide receiver. Wide receiver Darnell Smith was an Honorable Mention All-Conference honoree in 2013. In 2015, wide receiver Carlos Harris finished his career No. 2 in North Texas school history in career receptions, No. 5 in career receiving yards and No. 9 in career all-purpose yards.

While coaching the wide receivers at Western Michigan from 2008-10, Grant coached four All-Mid-American Conference receivers. In 2010, he had two receivers, Jordan White and Juan Nunez, record 1,000-yard receiving seasons and each caught over 90 passes. White set a school single-season record with 1,378 receiving yards in 2010 on way to earning Honorable Mention All-America honors from CNN/SI and First Team All-MAC honors. He also concluded his career as Western Michigan's career record holder for receiving yards. Nunez had 1,032 yards receiving in 2010 and also earned First Team All-MAC honors. In 2008, Grant coached wide receiver Jamarko Simmons, who led the MAC in receptions (98) and receiving yards (1,100). Simmons ranked No. 3 in the NCAA in receptions in 2008 and earned Second Team All-America honors.

Grant's time at Iowa State included him coaching two receivers who would break the Iowa State career receiving record. In 2002, Lane Danielson became the Cyclones' all-time leading receiver and earned All-Big 12 recognition. Then three years later in 2005, Todd Blythe broke Danielson's record on way to earning First Team All-Big 12 honors. Grant also coached First Team All-Big 12 running back Ennis Haywood in 2000.

Grant has continued to develop his coaching skills throughout his career. He participated in the 2009 NCAA Football Coach's Academy, the 2013 NCAA/NFL Coach's Academy and the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Internship Program, serving an internship in 2013 with the Buffalo Bills.

A quarterback at Nebraska from 1988-92, he was a three-year letterwinner and was named to the Phillips 66 Academic All-Big Eight Honor Roll. He earned his bachelor's degree in communication studies from Nebraska in 1993, added a second bachelor's degree in journalism with a concentration in advertising in 1995 and has completed his course work for his master's degree in mass communication.

He and his wife, Nina, have one daughter, Mireia.

Mike Grant's Coaching History
2022- Wyoming Associate Head Coach/Offensive Passing-Game Coordinator/WRs
2021 Wyoming Offensive Passing-Game Coordinator/Wide Receivers
2016-20 Wyoming Wide Receivers
2014-15 North Texas Wide Receivers/Recruiting Coordinator
2013 North Texas Wide Receivers
2011-12 North Texas Running Backs
2008-10 Western Michigan Assistant Head Coach/WRs
2007 Southern Miss Wide Receivers
2001-06 Iowa State Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
2000 Iowa State Running Backs
1999 Iowa State Outside Linebackers
1998 Iowa State Secondary
1997 James Madison Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
1994-96 Nebraska Graduate Assistant
1993 Nebraska Recruiting Assistant

Fulton, meantime, brings with him 17 years of college football coaching and administrative experience. He most recently was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colo. Fulton served as a graduate assistant football coach at Wyoming in 2010 and ‘11.

“We’re excited to have Nick come back to the University of Wyoming,” said Bohl. “He’s a Laramie native and previously served here as a graduate assistant coach. He has tons of experience at many different levels of collegiate football. He is going to be a great resource as he becomes an integral part of our football staff.”

“I appreciate Coach Bohl giving me the opportunity to come back to Wyoming,” said Fulton. “I’m very excited to work for and represent the great tradition that is Wyoming Football.”

Fulton will be responsible for a variety of administrative duties with the Cowboys, including planning team travel, monitoring the football budget, serving as a liaison with the UW Athletics academic counseling staff and helping coordinate a number of team functions.

He replaces long-time Wyoming Associate A.D. for Football Operations Brent Vernon, who accepted the position of Chief of Staff for Washington State University Football in December of 2021.

Having worked for the Cowboy Football program previously as a graduate assistant and having grown up in Laramie, Fulton has an excellent understanding of Wyoming Football.

Fulton served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colo., in the COVID shortened season of 2020. Prior to that, he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colo., for the 2019 season.

Fulton enjoyed a very successful four-year run at Colorado School of Mines from 2015-18. The Orediggers advanced to the NCAA Division II Playoffs in 2016 and 2018 and captured the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Championship both seasons. During that four-year span in Golden, Colo., Mines posted records of 8-3 in 2015, 10-3 in 2016, 7-4 in 2017 and 10-2 in 2018.

In 2016, Mines posted a 10-3 record, were champions of the RMAC and advanced to the Second Round of the Division II Playoffs. Fulton coached 2016 Harlon Hill Award winner, quarterback Justin Dvorak. Fulton’s offensive unit ranked No. 1 in the nation in total offense, averaging 566.8 yards per game, ranked No. 1 in the country in first downs (373), ranked No. 2 in passing offense (359.8 yards per game) and ranked No. 3 in scoring offense (47.5 points per game).

The 2018 Orediggers recorded a 10-2 record, won the RMAC Championship and advanced to the NCAA Division II Playoffs for the second time in three seasons. Mines’ offense again led the nation in total offense, averaging 556.8 yards per game, ranked No. 2 in first downs (307) and passing offense (331.9 yards per game) and ranked No. 4 in the country in scoring offense (47.2 points per game).

Fulton also coached Harlon Hill Award candidate Cameron Mayberry at running back in 2017. Mayberry averaged 156.6 rushing yards per game that season to rank No. 3 in the nation in rushing, and he averaged 200.0 all-purpose yards per game to rank No. 3 in the nation in that category.

Prior to coaching at Colorado School of Mines, Fulton spent three seasons (2012-14) as the offensive coordinator, recruiting coordinator and football academic coordinator at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D. While at Black Hills State, Fulton’s offense set a school record for total offense in the 2014 season, averaging 433.3 yards per game, and quarterback Ward Anderson ranked No. 6 in the country in total offense (337.5 yards per game). Fulton coached the Yellow Jackets offensive linemen in 2012 and ‘13 and coached the quarterbacks in 2014.

Fulton was a graduate assistant coach at the University of Wyoming for the 2010 and ‘11 seasons. He worked primarily in assisting Wyoming’s offensive coordinator in practices and games, including aiding in coaching Cowboy quarterbacks and wide receivers. On game days, Fulton was involved in signaling in offensive plays. In addition to his coaching duties, he also was actively involved in assisting Wyoming’s recruiting coordinator in all aspects of the recruiting process. Fulton was part of a 2011 Cowboy team that finished the season with an 8-5 overall record and finished third in the Mountain West behind only TCU and Boise State. The 2011 Cowboys earned a bid to the 2011 New Mexico Bowl.

In the summer of 2006, Fulton was hired as an assistant coach at Doane College in Crete, Neb. For four seasons from 2006-09, Fulton served in several roles on the Doane staff including: offensive line/tight ends coach, interim director of football operations and head junior varsity coach. He coached nine offensive linemen who earned All-Conference honors at Crete.

Fulton’s first college coaching job was at his alma mater, the University of Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls, S.D. He served as the offensive line coach for the Cougars for the 2005 season. Sioux Falls advanced to the semifinals of the 2005 NAIA Playoffs and finished the season ranked No. 4 in the national rankings. Upon graduating from Sioux Falls with a bachelor’s degree in communications, Fulton served as an admissions counselor at Sioux Falls from July 2004 to August 2006.

Fulton played his college football at the University of Sioux Falls following his graduation from Laramie High School. He was a standout offensive lineman during his college career from 1999-2003. Fulton earned All-Conference and Honorable Mention All-America honors as an offensive lineman. He was part of three consecutive conference championship teams in 2001, ‘02 and ‘03 at the University of Sioux Falls. The 2001 team played in the NAIA National Championship Game in 2001, finishing as the national runner-up.

Fulton and his wife, Becki, were married in December of 2014. They have one daughter, Gwenna, and are expecting their second child in March of 2022.

Nick Fulton Year-by-Year Coaching History

Year                 School                                      Position

2022-Present Wyoming Associate A.D. for Football Operations

2020 Colorado Mesa Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks

2019 Northern Colorado Offensive Coordinator/ Quarterbacks

2015-18 Colorado School of Mines Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks

2012-14 Black Hills State Offensive Coordinator/Recruiting Coordinator

2010-11 Wyoming Offensive Graduate Assistant Coach

2006-09 Doane College Offensive Line/Tight Ends

2005 University of Sioux Falls Offensive Line/Special Teams