• Hendricks Was a Standout Linebacker for the Cowboys From 2008-11
A former Wyoming football great is on tap to return to his alma mater to coach the Cowboy defensive ends. UW head coach Craig Bohl announced that he has offered the job of defensive ends coach to Brian Hendricks. Hendricks, a native of Burlington, Colo., played for the Pokes from 2008-11 and was honored three times with Mountain West All-Conference honors as a linebacker. Hendricks hiring is pending approval by the University of Wyoming.
Hendricks returns to Wyoming from Illinois State University where he has been the defensive line coach the past five seasons (2018-22) under head coach Brock Spack, who was Wyoming’s defensive coordinator in 1995 and ‘96 under the late Joe Tiller. Prior to that, Hendricks coached for three seasons at Montana (2015-17). His first season with the Griz, Hendricks coached the defensive ends, and he coached the entire defensive line his final two seasons. In 2013, he earned his first full-time college coaching position at Colorado Schools of Mines and coached the Oredigger defensive line for two seasons from 2013-14. Hendricks also served as a defensive graduate assistant at Colorado State prior to that, working for his former linebacker coach at Wyoming, Marty English, who Hendricks will now replace as UW’s defensive ends coach following English’s retirement announcement one week ago on Feb. 14.
“Brian Hendricks embodies the term Cowboy Tough,” said Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl. “Brian was an outstanding player here at Wyoming and was elected a team captain here, which is one of the finest honors a player can receive. I’ve followed his coaching career, whether it be at Colorado School of Mines, at Montana or most recently at Illinois State. I have a really good connection with Brock Spack at Illinois State, and I know what type of football they play. Our defensive ends will really benefit from Brian’s coaching, and I know he will represent the University of Wyoming well.”
“This is a special opportunity for me to return to the University of Wyoming, considering I played my entire college career at Wyoming and how important the program is to me,” said Hendricks. “Wyoming is an unbelievable place with unbelievably good people. In addition, my wife Talia is from Green River, Wyoming, and so this is a special opportunity for our entire family.
“I want to thank Coach Bohl for offering me this opportunity to be part of Cowboy Football once again. Having coached in the Missouri Valley Conference the last several years, I know about Coach Bohl’s success in the Missouri Valley at North Dakota State. That combined with the success Wyoming has had since he has been in charge of the program, it is an honor to be able to work for him now at my alma mater.”
The Illinois State defense in 2022 ranked No. 5 in the nation among Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) teams in sacks, with 35. ISU also was No. 5 in the country in pass defense (169.8 yards allowed per game), was No. 10 in total defense (318.5 yards allowed) and No. 11 in scoring defense (20.2 points allowed per game).
In 2019, the Redbirds enjoyed an outstanding season, posting a 10-5 record and advancing to the FCS Quarterfinals before losing a defensive battle by a score of 9-3 to eventual national champion North Dakota State. Illinois State was ranked No. 6 in the nation in 2019.
Hendricks’ 2019 defensive front led the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) in sacks, with 52. That defensive line unit was led by All-Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) First Team defensive end Romeo McKnight and MVFC Honorable Mention nose tackle John Ridgeway. McKnight would go on to play in the East-West Shrine Game and sign as a free agent with the Cleveland Browns. Earlier in their careers, McKnight was named a HERO Sports FCS Sophomore All-American and an MVFC All-Newcomer Team selection in his first season, while Ridgeway also earned MVFC All-Newcomer Team honors.
The 52 sacks in 2019 were also an Illinois State school record. The 2019 Redbird defense ranked in the Top 10 in the nation in seven defensive categories, including: leading the nation in red zone defense (61.4 percent), ranking No. 3 in turnovers gained (33), No. 4 in scoring defense (16.0 points allowed per game), No. 11 in total defense (303.5 yards allowed per game), No. 14 in rushing defense (116.7 yards allowed per game) and No. 19 in pass defense (186.8 yards allowed per game).
The 2018 season was also a strong one for the Redbird defense as it ranked No. 10 in scoring defense (20.0 points allowed per game) and No. 22 in rushing defense (126.8 yards allowed per game). Illinois State also ranked as the the second-best total defense (309.8 ypg) in the conference behind eventual national champion North Dakota State.
Hendricks came to Illinois State after serving as an assistant coach at Montana for three seasons. At Montana, Hendricks served the last two seasons as the Grizzlies’ defensive line coach. He coached the defensive ends his first season in 2015 and worked with 2015 STATS FCS Defensive Player of the Year Tyrone Holmes, who led the nation with 18 sacks. The 2015 Griz team posted an 8-5 record, advanced to the Second Round of the FCS Playoffs and earned a No. 14 national ranking.
Hendricks followed Colorado School of Mines head coach Bob Stitt to Montana. Hendricks was an assistant coach for Stitt at Mines for the 2013 and ‘14 seasons, working with the defensive line. In 2014, Mines had an overall record of 10-2 and tied for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title with an 8-1 league mark. The Orediggers advanced to the First Round of the 2014 NCAA Division II Playoffs, and earned a No. 16 national ranking.
With Hendricks coaching the defensive front, the 2014 Orediggers’ defense ranked second in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) in scoring defense (23.4 points allowed per game), No. 1 in the RMAC and No. 36 in the nation in Division II in rushing defense (124.9 yards allowed per game) and No. 1 in the RMAC and No. 12 in the nation in sacks (38).
Hendricks coached an Oredigger defense in 2013 that ranked No. 1 in the RMAC and No. 7 in the country in scoring defense (17.0 points allowed per game).
He joined Stitt’s staff in 2013, following a short stint as a defensive graduate assistant at Colorado State, working with his former position coach at Wyoming, Marty English, who was CSU’s defensive coordinator at the time.
As a linebacker for the Cowboys from 2008-11, Hendricks earned Second Team All-Mountain West honors twice — as a senior in 2011 and as a sophomore in 2009. He also earned Honorable Mention All-MW honors his junior season of 2010 in spite having to fight thru some nagging injuries throughout that season.
A former Wyoming team captain, Hendricks concluded his career with 309 career tackles, while playing in 45 career games for the Cowboys. He was a starter for the Pokes when they captured the 2009 New Mexico Bowl Championship, with a 35-28 double overtime win over Fresno State. In that game, Hendricks led Wyoming with 13 tackles and he and his defensive teammates posted a remarkable goal-line stand in the first overtime. Fresno State had a first and goal at the Wyoming one-yard line, but the Cowboy defense held the Bulldogs out of the end zone on four straight running plays and UW went on to capture the victory.
Hendricks ended the 2009 season ranked No. 12 in the nation in tackles, averaging 10.55 per game. His 116 tackles in the 2009 season ranks as the 24th best single-season performance in school history, and he still holds the school record for most tackles in a single game, recording 23 tackles on the road at Air Force in 2009.
Hendricks is a native of Burlington, Colo., he earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural business from the University of Wyoming in 2011. He and his wife Talia, who is a native of Green River, Wyo., have three children, son Hawk, daughter Quinn and son Westly.
Brian Hendricks’ Year-by-Year Coaching History
Year School Position
2023-Present Wyoming Defensive Ends Coach
2018-22 Illinois State Defensive Line Coach
2016-17 Montana Defensive Line Coach
2015 Montana Defensive Ends Coach
2013-14 Colorado School of Mines Defensive Line Coach
2013 Colorado State Defensive Graduate Assistant Coach