Branch Named Big XII Coach of the Year

photo by Darrel Johnson, KFBC radio

by staff–12 Mar ’18

Wyoming’s Mark Branch was honored Monday as the Big 12 Wrestling Coach of the Year after leading the Cowboys to another successful season.

During the recently completed 2017-18 regular season, the Pokes compiled a 13-3 dual record, including a 7-2 mark against Big 12 foes. Wyoming’s 13 dual victories tied for fourth most in a single season in Cowboy history. Additionally, Wyoming’s winning percentage of 81 percent is the sixth-best in one season.

In its third year as a Big 12 member, UW finished fourth at the Big 12 Championship during the first weekend in March. Archie Colgan (157 pounds) and Bryce Meredith (141 pounds) became the first Cowboys to earn Big 12 titles. In the previous two seasons as a Big 12 member, Wyoming finished fifth at the Big 12 Championship.

In his ten seasons, Branch has compiled a 100-49 overall dual record, including a 49-14 mark in conference action. He is just one of four coaches to win 100 duals at the helm of the program. Wyoming has sent 51 wrestlers to the NCAA Championships since Branch took over the program, with ten All-Americans.

This is the first Big 12 award for Branch as a coach. He was named the Big 12 Athlete of the Year after his senior season at Oklahoma State in 1997. He was the Western Wrestling Conference Coach of the Year in 2010, 2011 and 2012.