LARAMIE – In the almost-decade that Marty English has been away from his beloved Laramie, a decent amount has changed in the University of Wyoming football program: three more bowl game appearances, a handful of new faces and a football facility that would be the envy of many Power 5 programs.
As for the city of Laramie itself, though? Not much is different in 2020 than it was in 2011, aside from the housing market, English said. And that’s perfectly fine with him.
“Nothing,” English said with a wry smile. “And that’s one of the neat things. … We have great friendships here with people from when we were here before. And that stuff’s just exciting, and it hasn’t changed.”
English was UW’s linebackers coach from 2003-11 and also served as defensive coordinator from 2009-11 as part of former head coach Dave Christensen’s staff. He then took a job at archrival Colorado State, serving as defensive coordinator for five seasons before most recently serving as the defensive coordinator at Northern Colorado.
English doesn’t have anything left to prove after being in the coaching business for more than three decades. But he still loves football, loves coaching and loves UW.
That’s why, after the departure of three assistant coaches to Washington State in January, English found himself on the phone with UW head coach Craig Bohl, discussing their visions and goals.
English, along with defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel and cornerbacks coach Benny Boyd, were announced as the newest members of Bohl’s staff on Feb. 6.
When Bohl asked English if he wanted to be on staff, it was a no-brainer. English’s wife, a teacher in Fort Collins, Colorado, isn’t set to retire for another three years. There’s no sense in being retired by yourself, English thought. His daughter and grandchildren live in Laramie; his son lives in nearby Loveland, Colorado, and is expecting a child in the coming weeks.
Family is clearly important to English. Why not return to his football home?
“You’re the biggest show in town (in Laramie),” English said. “We just love the people. We love the style of life. Everything about it.”
As opposed to the last time he was with UW, English will not be calling the schemes defensively; that duty will fall on the shoulders of Sawvel, who previously served as the defensive coordinator at Minnesota and Wake Forest. For some coaches, it might be strange taking a step back and following orders from someone decades younger than yourself. But English is content with where he is as a football coach and, at this juncture in his life, wants to enjoy the ride. Sometimes, simpler is better.
“I’ve done this 34 years, and sometimes, whether you’ve been head coach, coordinator, it’s nice to just want to be a position coach. Coach your guys, be with that group, not have to worry about the big, grand scheme of things,” English said. “It’s really refreshing to be at that point in my career, because otherwise, I’ll just retire.”
Much was made of English’s departure to Border War rival CSU in 2012 when Jim McElwain hired him as co-defensive coordinator. Being on the other side of a fierce rivalry didn’t sit well with everyone. But for English, it was a job. It was nothing personal; it was in the best interests of his family, which is what all of his choices boil down to.
“My decisions have mostly been made for family first. I’ve had chances to leave the area, go do different things. And I’m just not interested in it,” English said. “My family’s here. I want to be with my family. … I’m not interested in any of that. And so and you know, at the time when I left here and went to Colorado State, it was just a good fit for me and my family.”
English has long been lauded for his ability to recruit, particularly within Colorado. English recruited former UW stars John Fletcher, Brian Hendricks, Dusty Hoffschneider, Gabe Knapton, Mike Purcell, Mitch Unrein and Eddie Yarbrough out of Colorado.
Recruiting is one of English’s great joys. The ability to build and maintain relationships, particularly in Colorado (English was raised there and attended Northern Colorado) is a pleasure. He knows the type of players that come from the state and the specific programs they hail from; there are no surprises. And recruiting well, particularly within Wyoming’s neighbor, is of the utmost importance.
“It’s everything,” English said. “You have to win recruiting, no matter where it’s at. But it is very important for us here at Wyoming to win Colorado.”
There isn’t a ton left for English to accomplish in his coaching career. At this point, he said he just wants to help the Pokes win the Mountain West and do whatever he can to help the program. There are no sights on other jobs, no more stepping stones and no more coordinator jobs. This is his last coaching stop.
“This is it. I want to help us win a championship and be the most successful team we can be and enjoy it,” English said. “I’m at that stage I want to enjoy coaching, and I want to enjoy the people I’m coaching with, and I want my family to enjoy it.”