LARAMIE -- University of Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl announced Tuesday that Willie Mack Garza is joining the UW coaching staff as safeties coach.
With the addition of Garza, UW defensive coordinator Jake Dickert will shift to coaching linebackers.
UW had an opening on its staff after linebackers coach Jay Niemann left for Iowa. Niemann replaced Scottie Hazelton at UW, who was the Cowboys’ linebackers and defensive coordinator from 2017-18.
Garza coached with Bohl at North Dakota State for four seasons (2005-08), serving as the defensive coordinator for the Bison his last three seasons. Garza will be entering his 24th season as a college football coach in 2019. During Garza’s time working with Bohl at North Dakota State, the Bison compiled a 33-11 record, had two 10-1 seasons and defeated three Football Bowl Subdivision schools in Minnesota, Ball State and Central Michigan.
In November 2012, the NCAA infractions committee imposed a three-year “show-cause” order upon Garza in connection with a recruiting violation he was involved in at the University of Tennessee in June 2009. That “show-cause” order limited Garza’s ability to accept another job at an NCAA school during that three-year period.
“I do want to make one thing clear, Willie Mack has acknowledged a mistake he made 10 years ago that resulted in him being disciplined by the NCAA for a recruiting violation,” Bohl said in a news release from UW Tuesday. “Since then, he has been reinstated by the NCAA. We have a reputation of holding ourselves to high ethical standards here at the University of Wyoming, and I expect Coach Garza to follow those high standards.”
Added UW athletics director Tom Burman: “Our compliance staff has worked with the NCAA to gain a thorough understanding of exactly what occurred in relation to Coach Garza’s ‘show-cause’ order. Our compliance staff also reached out to other schools who have hired coaches who previously had ‘show-cause’ orders imposed upon them to get a better understanding of education they provided to those coaches and other processes they put in place. We are committed to bring in the best coaches available to help our student-athletes and our teams succeed, but we will never compromise our standards in regard to doing things the right way here at Wyoming.”
Garza coached at Dixie State in St. George, Utah, th last two seasons. He served as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach in 2018 after serving as the defensive pass-game coordinator and defensive backs coach in 2017. Following the 2018 season, he was hired as the co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Texas A&M Commerce in January of 2019, prior to accepting his new position at UW.
Prior to Dixie State, Garza spent the 2016 season as the cornerbacks coach at Lamar University, and in 2015 he coached the linebackers and served as special teams coordinator at Prairie View A&M.
Garza coached at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville, Mississippi, in 2013-14 where he served as the team’s defensive coordinator. He coached the defensive backs at the University of Southern California in 2010. Prior to his stint at USC, Garza spent 2009 as the defensive backs coach at Tennessee.
“We are excited about the body of work and experience that coach Garza brings to our coaching staff,” Bohl said. “Willie Mack and I have enjoyed a long relationship through the years. He is a seasoned coach, who had a lot to do with our defensive success at North Dakota State, and he is very experienced in coaching within our system.”
Added Garza: “First and foremost this is a blessing that coach Bohl and the University of Wyoming athletics department has provided me this opportunity to come coach here. I love coaching. This also is an opportunity for me to provide a platform for young men to be successful on and off the football field in the four to five years that they are here and for the rest of their lives.
“I take this opportunity very seriously. It has been a blessing that I was fortunate enough to have met coach Bohl back in 2005 when I was a defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator for him. We developed a bond and a relationship that will last a lifetime. That is what this profession is all about.”
As a college player, Garza was a four-year starter at cornerback and safety at Texas from 1988-92. Garza was inducted into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame in 2001.