Sundance Wicks returns to Wyoming as basketball coach after a year at Green Bay

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming has hired former Cowboys basketball assistant Sundance Wicks away from Green Bay to fill its head coaching vacancy.

Wicks went 18-14 and staged a remarkable turnaround in his lone season at Green Bay after spending three years as a Wyoming assistant on Jeff Linder’s staff. Wicks will take over for Linder.

In announcing the Wicks hiring Sunday, Wyoming said Linder had resigned “to pursue other opportunities in college basketball.” ESPN has reported that Linder, who went 63-59 in four seasons at Wyoming, is close to a deal to become an assistant on Texas Tech coach Grant McCasland’s staff.

“You cannot put into words what it means for a kid from the country roads outside of Gillette to represent the state of Wyoming and the Cowboys as their new head basketball coach,” Wicks said in a statement.

In his only season at Green Bay, Wicks won the Joe B. Hall national coach of the year award that goes annually to the top rookie head coach in Division I basketball.

Wicks had inherited a Green Bay program that went 3-29 the year before his arrival. The 15-win improvement from 3-29 to 18-14 represented the ninth-biggest turnaround in NCAA Division I history.

“If there is one thing, I learned growing up in Wyoming, it’s that when you honor the brown and gold, you are honoring so much more than just the University of Wyoming,” Wicks said. “You are honoring every single hard hat that woke up before the sun to work the coal mines. It means paying your respects to the all the rough and rowdy ranchers that chose the Cowboy way and rode for the brand before it became a popular phrase.

"Honoring the brown and gold is the understanding that a tip of the cap, a steering wheel wave, a hard handshake or a big hug is how you lift your people up in support of a hard day’s work.”

Green Bay athletic director Josh Moon said the school already has begun a search for Wicks’ successor.

“We are so thankful and proud of the work Sundance did during his time in Green Bay,” Moon said in a statement. “He re-energized our program, university and this entire region, and we will be forever grateful for the mark he made on Phoenix basketball.”


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