The story of Joe Glenn is that of a man who has worked for everything he has, and then some.
Glenn's road to Larime, Wyoming and his current place as head coach of the Cowboys began 30 years ago when he served as the offensive backfield coach for South Dakota, his alma-mater.
In 1976, at the age of 27, he took over the coaching reigns at Doane (Neb.) College becoming the youngest collegiate head coach in the nation.
Six years later, Glenn moved on to serve as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at the University of Montana. Glenn helped the Grizzlies to the Big Sky Conference title and a spot in the NCAA Division I-AA national playoffs. In five years, Montana broke or tied 89 offensive school records under Glenn's guidance.
Glenn joined the University of Northern Colorado staff as quarterbacks coach in 1987. Two years later, he accepted an assistant coaching position with the British Columbia Lions of the CFL, only to turn down the job soon after when he was offered the head coaching duties with the Bears.
Glenn was most recently named to his current position as the head coach for the University of Wyoming on Dec. 12 2002, replacing Vic Koenning, who was fired after posting a 5-29 record in three years at the Mountain West Conference school.
The Cowboys posted a 4-8 mark this past season in Glenn's first go-round as head man, including a 35-28 victory over long-time rival Colorado State in Larime on Nov. 1.
Even so, Glenn's confidence in his own abilities, as well as those of his staff, was very evident.
"I think our staff could succeed at Notre Dame," Glenn said at the time. "Our guys are that good."
Glenn's numbers are good: 18 straight winning seasons (prior to arriving at Wyoming), six trips to the NCAA Division II playoffs and back-to-back NCAA Division II National Football Championships in 1996 and ‘97. With the consecutive titles, UNC became only the fourth team in the history of NCAA's lesser division to repeat as national champs. He also won the NCAA Division I-AA National Championship at Montana in 2001.
For his efforts, Glenn was named Division II National Coach of the Year following his championship seasons in Greeley, an honor is magnified by the fact that the award is voted on by his coaching peers - the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). Glenn has also twice been named the American Football Quarterly Division II National Coach of the Year and, in 1997, earned North Central Conference Coach of the Year honors. Following the 1998 campaign, he was chosen the AFCA Regional Coach of the Year and was once again named NCC Coach of the Year. He has a career record of 162-67-1.
Whether or not Glenn could have a place one day at CU remains to be seen, but like any responsible coach he refuses to balk on his current responsibilities.
"We're really excited about the future here," Glenn says. "We're out there beating the bushes for athletes, not new jobs."
Why he'd fit
Like anyone who might step in and take hold of the most troubled program in the country will have to have, Glenn possesses a confidence-inspiring charismatic personality. He is one of the few candidates the CU athletic department could consider for the potentially vacancy whose presence alone could single-handedly reverse the current attitude in Boulder.
Along those same lines, Glenn might just have the rare personality combination of football charm and youthful relateability which could someday soon make Boulder once again a place potential recruits would want to come to.
Glenn has landed big-name signees at small schools without the detriment of scandal for years. While at Montana, Glenn's presence was instrumental in bringing Mike Rice and Brent Pease to the Grizz (both went on to play in the NFL; Rice to the Jets and Pease to the Vikings). They headline a list of eight other one-time recruits who eventually went on to play professional football after being coached by Glenn at Montana.
Most import, though, would be Glenn's ability to relate simultaneously to the young men on his team as well as a national public which would be scrutinizing his every move. He's got the personality to deal with the media, but the background to be able to turn around his team and make them realize that the game is what's most important. Glenn earned his masters in education from the University of South Dakota in 1975, and has close to three decades of experience in dealing with student athletes from all backgrounds and situations.
During the better part of the past half-century, Glenn has seen longtime I-AA coaches like Jim Tressel (Youngstown State to Ohio State) and Bobby Johnson (Furman to Vanderbilt) take leaps similar to the one he would take to CU. Many fans who followed Glenn in the Big Sky continue to believe it's only a matter of time before he gets a shot at a similar big-money, big-pressure job.
Why he wouldn't
The reality is that good Division I-A jobs are hard to come by, even for bright, hard-working, charismatic coaches who have won three national championships in lower divisions. Glenn is seemingly set for several years in Larime, with every intention of single-handedly turning that program around in the same manner he's done on lower levels for years.
Glenn has always been a man to take challenge head on, and it's just that sort of difficult situation he's immersed in right now in Larime. He's charged right now with Wyoming, not just with improving on his 4-8 mark of last year in his first season as a Division-I coach, but also with keeping promises he made to a recruiting class which includes a JUCO All-American running back and three standout Colorado high school students set the join the Cowboys in 2004.
"You always listen to what everybody has to say, wherever you go," Glenn said in a recent interview. "But I'm not out there looking for a better job. I've got a great situation here, and it's only getting better."
As of Feb. 5, Glenn has time to let it get a lot better. Wyoming's 30th coach received a one-year extension which will take his scheduled tenure with the team through the 2008 season.
"I'm very, very appreciative of the support I have received from our administration," Glenn said when he received the extension earlier this month. "We are so excited about the future of this program, and stability is a huge key in that future success."
If Glenn has given any indication as to his future plans, that says it all. The man has worked too hard for too long to relinquish on his word in the same year a Division-I administration gives him an extension three seasons before his original deal was set to expire. It would go against the reputation the man has maintained for years, and it's not the way he would step into power at a major program -not even one as beloved and with such a longstanding tradition as Colorado.