University of Wyoming Has New Strength Coach

photo courtesy of UW Athletics Department

by staff–28 Jan ’16

Russell Dennison, the assistant strength and conditioning coach for the University of Oklahoma Football program the past five years, has been named the new Director of Sports Performance for the University of Wyoming Athletics Department. Dennison will work directly with the Cowboy Football team in addition to directing the strength and conditioning staff for all of Wyoming’s sports teams.

Dennison has been responsible for designing speed, strength and conditioning programs for the Sooner Football team since 2011, working with Jerry Schmidt, Head of Sports Enhancement at OU. While at Oklahoma, Dennison implemented and instructed football student-athletes on specific speed and strength workouts tailored to their positions. He monitored student-athletes’ recovery periods and focused on maximizing recovery sessions. Dennison also worked closely with the OU Sports Science Director in gathering and evaluating data on student-athlete workouts.

During his time coaching with the Sooners, Oklahoma won Big XII Championships in 2012 and 2015. At the conclusion of the 2015 season, OU played in the College Football Playoff Semifinals versus Clemson in the Orange Bowl. They recorded bowl wins over Iowa in the 2011 Insight Bowl and over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl following the 2013 season and made appearances in the Cotton Bowl vs. Texas A&M following the 2012 season and vs. Clemson in the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl. The Sooners combined record over the five-year span from 2011-15 was 50-15 (.769).

“I’m very proud to join the Cowboy family and look forward to working with an outstanding group of athletes, coaches, trainers and administrators,” said Dennison. “It’s an exciting time to be a part of Wyoming Athletics. I’m eager to begin working with our staff to enhance the performance of our athletes.”

A former Sooner football player, Dennison was signed by OU out of Weatherford High School in Weatherford, Okla. Dennison lettered four years at OU from 2002-05 as a fullback. He was part of OU teams that earned their way to three consecutive Big XII Championship games in 2002, 2003 and 2004, winning the Big XII title game in 2002 and 2004. The Sooners played in two consecutive BCS National Championship Games following the 2003 and 2004 seasons, playing LSU in the Sugar Bowl following the 2003 campaign and playing USC in the Orange Bowl following the 2004 season. Dennison was also part of OU teams that defeated Washington State in the Rose Bowl at the conclusion of the 2002 season and defeated Oregon in the 2005 Holiday Bowl. The Sooners compiled a record of 44-9 (.830) during that four-year span. As a freshman at Oklahoma, Dennison won the Freshman Iron Man Award for outstanding performance in strength and conditioning at OU.

Dennison began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant strength and conditioning coach for football at the Air Force Academy in 2007-08. He returned to his home state of Oklahoma in 2008 to establish the strength and conditioning program at Tulsa Union High School. In 2010, Dennison was nominated for the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) National High School Strength Coach of the Year. The next year, he accepted the assistant strength and conditioning position at his alma mater, OU.

The Weatherford, Okla., native was named the 2001 Oklahoma Class 4A Defensive Player of the Year at Weatherford High School. He was an outstanding track and field athlete in high school, earning High School All-America honors in the 400 meters. He was the Oklahoma state champion in the indoor and outdoor 400 meters in 2001. He anchored the gold medal Great Southwest Classic mile-relay team and won an individual 400-meter championship at the 2001 Great Southwest Classic. He was also a three-year starter in basketball.

Dennison will begin his new duties at Wyoming on Friday, Jan. 29.