University of Wyoming Athletics Director Tom Burman announced Tuesday the hiring of Jeff Linder as head coach of the Cowboy Basketball Team.
Linder is the 22nd head coach in Wyoming history and led Northern Colorado to three-straight 20-win seasons.
“Jeff (Linder) turned around the basketball program at Northern Colorado and developed his team into one of the premier programs in the Big Sky Conference,” Burman said. “Jeff possesses many important qualities I was looking for in a new head coach for Cowboy Basketball. First and foremost, he is a proven winner as a head coach. Jeff also has great knowledge of the region and the Mountain West Conference.
“His brand of basketball will be great for our Cowboy fans to watch, as his teams play with great offensive efficiency and play a tough hard-nosed style of defense. We couldn’t be more excited to have Jeff lead Wyoming Basketball into a new era.”
Linder has posted an 80-50 (.615) record in four seasons at Northern Colorado. He was named the Big Sky Coach of the Year during the 2018-19 season leading the Bears to 15 conference wins for a program record. The Bears tied that record of 15 conference wins again in the 2019-20 season. Over the last three seasons, Linder led UNC to the most wins during a three-year stretch in program history, with 69 wins. The Bears also finished in the top-100 of the NCAA NET Rankings.
“I’m extremely excited for the opportunity to be the men’s basketball coach at the University of Wyoming,” Linder said. “Wyoming has a rich basketball tradition which at a young age I was introduced to on the Sports Illustrated cover that featured Cowboy great Fennis Dembo. From that time on growing up down the road in Denver, I was always rooting for the Cowboys.
“For me to now have the opportunity to lead this acclaimed program is an honor that I won’t take for granted. I will work to build on the storied past built and laid before me and diligently work to make Wyoming basketball a force to be reckoned with.”
He said the job is an incredible fit for his family.
“Having grown up in the region and having coached in the Mountain West Conference, it was almost too good to be true when Tom Burman called me,” Linder said. “My staff and I will make recruiting Wyoming and the region a priority while scanning the globe for student-athletes who fit the characteristics we want in Cowboy basketball players.”
He also helped lead Northern Colorado to its first postseason title in 2017-18, as the Bears won the College Invitational Tournament. It marked the first postseason title for any Colorado school since the 1940 season. It was also the first postseason title for a team from the Big Sky Conference. During the 2017-18 campaign, UNC won a school record 26 games on their way to the CIT Championship. The Bears finished the season ranked in the top 100 of the RPI.
“Cowboy fans will see a team that will play hard and play together as a team,” Linder said. “We will look to play to our players’ strengths and put them in position to best utilize those strengths. Having coached against the current Wyoming players the past three seasons, I am confident that they will really fit and flourish in this system. There is great talent on this team, and I’m looking forward to coaching them.”
Prior to his time at Northern Colorado, Linder spent six seasons at Boise State with the last three years serving as associate head coach of the Broncos. Linder helped guide Boise State to two NCAA tournament appearances and the team’s first Mountain West Conference Championship during his tenure.
A native of Lafayette, Colo., he played one season at Mesa State. After his freshman year, Linder transferred to Western State Colorado where he played three seasons under coach Bob Hofman. As a Mountaineer, Linder earned All-Rocky Mountain Conference honors, both on the court and in the classroom, three times.
Linder and his wife, Kelli, have four children, two daughters, Adison and Makalyn, and two sons, Jordan and Devon.