A new season recap — the 1942-43 Wyoming high school basketball season — has been added to the Season Recaps area of wyoming-basketball.com. “Stat Rat” Jim Craig’s research on this year is full of interesting pieces of information from one of the most difficult years of basketball in the state. Check it out!


Ever since Natrona’s old gym was brought down, I’ve wondered what the oldest gym in the state is now. I’m also curious to officially pin down the largest (and smallest) gym in the state.

So I restarted a project: finding the ages and capacities of each gym in the state. Here’s what I have so far. If you know any missing info, leave a comment here or email pschmiedt@yahoo.com.


Sister site wyoming-basketball.com has added a new area to its site: season recaps. Some of the season recaps that were previously posted on this blog have been moved to this area of that site. See the info below for all the details.


The 1943 NCAA champion Wyoming Cowboy basketball team had 15 members. Of those 15, six became head high school football coaches in Wyoming — an amazing ratio considering the total number of former UW basketball players to end up as head football coaches in the state.

The members of the 1943 national champs who went on to be head football coaches in the state were:

  • Vernon Jensen, of Lyman, was the head football coach at Lyman from 1948-51, going 10-9.
  • Antone “Tony” Katana, of Rock Springs, was the head football coach at Superior from 1948-53, going 26-24.
  • Earl “Shadow” Ray, of Casper, was the head football coach at Midwest in 1944, going 4-4.
  • Kenny Sailors, of Laramie via Hillsdale, was the head football coach at University Prep in 1942, going 0-1.
  • Jim Weir, of Green River, was the head football coach at Green River from 1947-52, going 38-18-3.
  • Donald Waite, of Scottsbluff, Neb., was the head football coach at Huntley in 1967, going 1-9.

Katana and Weir faced each other nine times while the coaches at their respective schools from 1948-51; Weir’s Wolves went 7-2 against Katana’s Dragons, with the biggest win a conference championship tiebreaker game in 1950 that helped propel Green River to the Class A title that year.


Not all of the 15 members of the 1943 team lettered for the Cowboys that season. In all, though, 18 more Cowboy basketball lettermen beyond those on the 1943 team ended up as head football coaches in the state. However, it’s been a while since a Cowboy basketball player ended up as a head football coach; the last to do so was Ralph Winland, who lettered for the Cowboy basketball team 48 years ago, in 1968. Reverse chronologically by last letter date, they were:

  • Ralph Winland (lettered 1968, coach Cowley 1976, North Big Horn 1977-78)
  • Mike Harris (lettered 1961, coach Riverton 1974)
  • Nick Eliopulos (lettered 1952-54-55, coach Basin 1956)
  • Morris Samuelson (lettered 1950-51-52, coach Evanston 1956-57)
  • Robert Porter (lettered 1945-46, coach Shoshoni 1947-49)
  • Warren Capellen (lettered 1945, coach Pinedale 1950-54 and Kemmerer 1955-58)
  • Bill Strannigan (lettered 1941-42, coach University Prep 1941)
  • Jack Smith (lettered 1940-41, coach Reliance 1946-54)
  • George Dorrington (lettered 1938-39-40, coach Hanna 1950-52, Gillette 1953-60)
  • Lew Young (lettered 1936-38-39, coach Lingle 1942, Gillette 1944-46)
  • Willard West (lettered 1932-33-34-35, coach Green River 1935-37, Thermopolis 1938-40 and 1945)
  • Joe Schwartz (lettered 1930-31-32-33, coach Rawlins 1942-43, Natrona 1944-46, Rawlins 1949-52)
  • Jim Jiacoletti (lettered 1928-29-30, coach Superior 1932-36, Kemmerer 1937-42)
  • Robert Outsen (lettered 1926-27-28-29, coach Shoshoni 1932-33)
  • Oscar Erickson (lettered 1924-25-26-27, coach Sheridan 1929-31)
  • Don Harkins (lettered 1926-27, coach University Prep 1929)
  • Fred Layman (lettered 1918-19-20-21, coach Natrona 1925)
  • Andrew Willis (lettered 1915-16-17, coach Cowley 1921-23 and 1925, Lovell 1927-28)

The number of former Cowboy football lettermen who ended up as head football coaches in the state is much higher; that will be detailed in a future post.


Two Wyoming high schools have an opportunity to pull off a rare championship sweep — winning the track and field, football and either the basketball or wrestling championships in the same calendar year.

The basketball-track-football calendar-year sweep has only been pulled off eight times; seven of those sweeps have been at the big-school level.

However, Pine Bluffs has the chance to do this in 2016. The Hornets won the Class 2A basketball championship in March and the 2A track and field championship in May.

The football team faces long historical odds — Pine Bluffs has never won a football championship and last won a playoff game in 2003.

The first school to do a calendar-year basketball-track-football sweep was Natrona in 1939. Since then, schools that have pulled off the feat include Laramie in 1969, Cheyenne Central in 1977 and 1979, Kelly Walsh in 1981, Gillette in 2008, Natrona again in 2010 and Snake River, the only small school to pull off this kind of sweep, in 2011.

Meanwhile, Star Valley could sweep the wrestling, track and field and football titles in the same calendar year, a feat that’s even rarer. The Braves won the 3A wrestling title and followed that up with the 3A track title last spring. Let’s not forget that Star Valley is also the defending 3A football champions.

Gillette is the only program to complete this trifecta in a calendar year, and the Camels have done it twice. Gillette completed the wrestling-track-football sweep in a calendar year first in 2006 and again in 2008.


As noted, Star Valley won the football, wrestling and track and field titles in the 2015-16 academic year. That’s only happened five times in state history, and Star Valley became the first school to do so twice. The Braves joined Cheyenne Central (1965-66), Gillette (2008-09) and Powell (2013-14) in such a sweep; Star Valley also pulled off the same championship trifecta in 1982-83.

Eleven times, schools have swept the football-basketball-track titles in the same academic year: Sheridan in 1958-59; both Byron and Laramie in 1968-69; Cheyenne Central in 1977-78; both Southeast and Kelly Walsh in 1980-81; Burlington in 1994-95; Gillette in 1998-99; Snake River in both 2010-11 and 2011-12; and Natrona in 2014-15.



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