The football champions list at the Wyoming High School Activities Association’s website underwent some significant changes last year.

The 2015 state champions were not the only champs added to the WHSAA’s list: So were 40 other programs who had long struggled for recognition from Wyoming’s statewide high school athletics organizers.

For the first time, champions from 1921-30, 1941-47, 1962-67 and the Class A and B/C champions from 1962-74 are now recognized by the WHSAA. Those champions, previously unofficial, are now considered official state champions, WHSAA Commissioner Ron Laird said via email to at the beginning of the school year.

Laird said the decision to officially recognize 40 previously unofficial champions state champions, including three shared championships, was controversy-free.

“(W)e have not heard any rebuttal since we have posted them, so as far as we are concerned, they are official until proven otherwise,” Laird said via email.

The WHSAA has existed since 1931. Prior to 2015, the organization did not recognize champions crowned prior to the organization’s founding. It also did not recognize champions from eras in which the WHSAA, or certain classifications, did not sponsor postseason playoffs. That rule had two notable exceptions: the Class AA champions between 1948 and 1961 (which were decided by conference standings, not by playoffs or a championship game) and the 1939 and 1940 state champions were also recognized by the WHSAA prior to 2015.

Programs gaining official WHSAA recognition for championships include:

Byron (1965, 1968)
Cheyenne Central (1929, 1941, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1965)
Cokeville (1969)
Glenrock (1968, 1971)
Laramie (1962, 1964)
Natrona (1928, 1942, 1963)
Pinedale (1970)
Powell (1966, 1967)
Rawlins (1947)
St. Mary’s (1972)
St. Stephens (1962)
Sheridan (1921, 1922, 1923, 1930, 1946)
Thermopolis (1928, 1929)
Tongue River (1966, 1967, 1973, 1974)
Worland (1924, 1925, 1926, 1927)

The AA (large-school) champions between 1939 and 1968 were decided by conference standings, not by playoffs or a championship game. All champions listed between 1962-67 and Class A, B and C champions from 1962-74 were decided by statewide poll, not by state playoffs or a state championship game. Champions listed for those eras are consensus champions (Class AA/one class champions from 1939 to 1961), AP ballot champions (1962) and UPI ballot champions (1963-74). Champions listed prior to 1931 are consensus champions based on press reports from those years.

This site’s state championship listings are unchanged, but the status of the championships has been updated to reflect WHSAA recognition of the schools’ championships. State champion listings are available here.


2 Thoughts on “WHSAA reverses course, recognizes unofficial state football champions

  1. Pat Schmidt on April 8, 2016 at 9:34 am said:

    Patrick, there’s a terrible injustice in here. Undefeated Greybull in 1962 was phenomenal, almost unsecured on, had college players and could have beaten Laramie. To be fair, the WHSAA will at least put the A Division back in like it was the year before instead of using AA-A. I had graduated by that time.
    Pat Schmidt

  2. Patrick on April 10, 2016 at 9:22 am said:

    You’re right, Pat. The 1960s and early 1970s were an awful time for Class A statewide recognition. Greybull wasn’t the only undefeated Class A school to fail to get championship recognition in this era. The same thing happened to Torrington (1971, 1969), Buffalo (1970), Star Valley (1967, 1966, 1965, 1962), Gillette (1964), Evanston (1964), Green River (1963) and Lusk (1963, 1962). How well those teams would have fared against the Class AA teams is debatable, but the fact that they were compared to Class AA teams at all is the biggest frustration.


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