Wyoming Tabs Northern Colorado’s Linder as New Head Coach
Linder was named Big Sky Coach of the Year in 2019
Wyoming has brought in Jeff Linder to replace Allen Edwards.
Less than two weeks removed from a wild run into the Mountain West Tournament semifinals, Wyoming has a new head coach in former Northern Colorado skipper Jeff Linder.
While the job may not have been one of the most attractive openings in college basketball, it held great appeal for Linder, who grew up in the region and has coaching experience in the Mountain West, having served as a Boise State assistant from 2010 to 2016.
In a statement, Linder referred to the position as “an incredible fit” and considered it “almost too good to be true” when athletic director Tom Burman offered him the job.
Linder comes to Laramie after four seasons with the Bears, having led the team to at least 21 wins in each of the past three seasons. The Lafayette, Colo. native was 80-50 during his time at Northern Colorado, a stint that also included a CIT Championship in 2018. Coming off that campaign, Linder took home Big Sky Coach of the Year honors in 2019. This past season, he guided UNC to a 22-9 record and a second-place finish in the conference.
“Jeff possesses many important qualities I was looking for in a new head coach for Cowboy Basketball,” athletic director Tom Burman said in a statement. “First and foremost, he is a proven winner as a head coach.”
Suffice it to say, all that success intrigued a program thirsty for some of its own.
Wyoming has brought in Linder to replace Allen Edwards, who went 60-76 during his four years with the Cowboys. Though the final games of Edwards’ tenure were certainly memorable, the two wins that they secured in the MW Tournament matched the number of wins they amassed during league play. After back-to-back 20-win seasons to start his career in Laramie, Edwards failed to reach ten wins in consecutive seasons.
That was enough for Wyoming to make a switch.
“I appreciate the contributions that Coach Edwards has made to Wyoming Basketball,” Burman said in a statement announcing Edwards’ firing. “But after the lack of success in the past two seasons, I believe it is in the best interest of our program to make a change at this time.”
On the other side of that change is Linder, who began his coaching career as an assistant with Colorado for the 2000-2001 season. After his time Boulder, he made stops at Emporia State and Midland before rejoining the ranks of Division I at Weber State. During his time with the Wildcats, Linder recruited current Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard.
In 2008, Linder left the Big Sky for the West Coast Conference, joining San Francisco as an assistant. After two seasons with the Dons, he joined Leon Rice’s staff at Boise State. Linder helped guide the Broncos program through a string of very successful seasons, eventually earning the role of Associate Head Coach.
It wasn’t long before Linder shed the “associate” tag, heading back to the Big Sky in 2016 to helm Northern Colorado’s program. His time in Greeley got off to a rocky start, as the Bears posted a forgettable 11-18 record on their way to an eighth-place finish. Over the next three seasons, however, he led the team to a 69-32 mark.
Now he will look to continue that success for a Wyoming program searching for its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2015 and just its third since 2000.
Andrew is a current USBWA member, covering college basketball for multiple outlets, including Mountain West Wire of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Busting Brackets of the FanSided Network. He also runs the Dieckhoff Power Index, a college basketball analytics system, and provides bracketology predictions throughout the season.