Western Michigan Broncos football
|Western Michigan Broncos football|
|Athletic director||Kathy Beauregard|
P. J. Fleck|
3rd year, 9–16 (.360)
|Home stadium||Waldo Stadium|
|Location||Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S.|
|League||NCAA Division I (FBS)|
|All-time record||535–434–24 (.551)|
|Postseason bowl record||0–6 (.000)|
Brown and gold
The Western Michigan Broncos football program represents Western Michigan University in the Football Bowl Subdivision of Division I and the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Western Michigan has competed in football since 1906, when they played three games in their inaugural season. In 1927, WMU joined four other schools (Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University, and Wayne State University) to form the Michigan Collegiate Conference. Western Michigan then moved to its present conference in 1946. Prior to 1939, Western Michigan's athletic teams were known as the Hilltoppers.
Western Michigan's football team has had 15 head coaches in its history, with current head coach, P. J. Fleck being named to the position December 17, 2012. Fleck replaces Bill Cubit, who held the job from 2005 to 2012. WMU had a huge turnaround in Cubit's first season, going from 1–10 in 2004 to 7–4 in 2005. The 54.5% increase marked the highest in Division I-A between the two seasons and garnered Cubit the 2005 MAC Coach of the Year Award. Cubit was also the only first-year Division I-A head coach to take his team from a negative point differential in 2004 to a positive one the following year (−188 to +12). WMU was also one of eight football teams that was bowl eligible but did not go to a bowl game.
WMU's main rival is the Central Michigan University Chippewas and they play for the WMU–CMU Rivalry Trophy. As of 2012, the Broncos own a 45–36–2 advantage in the series. In 2002, Western Michigan won the rivalry game at Central Michigan for the first time since 1973, snapping a 12-game winless streak (0–11–1).
- 1 Coaching staff
- 2 History
- 3 Conference championships
- 4 Bowl games
- 5 Trophy games
- 6 NCAA records
- 7 Former and current NFL players
- 8 Media
- 9 Future non-conference opponents
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The following list is the current WMU coaching staff.
- P. J. Fleck – head coach
- Kirk Ciarrocca – offensive coordinator
- Ed Pinkham – defensive coordinator, defensive backs coach
- Brian Callahan – offensive line coach
- Mike Hart – running backs coach
- Bill Kenney – tight ends, offensive tackles coach
- Tim McGarigle – linebackers coach
- Vinson Reynolds – defensive line coach
- Matt Simon – wide receivers coach
- Rob Wenger – special teams coordinator, defensive ends coach
- Nick Hennessey – graduate assistant
- D. J. Pirkle – graduate assistant
- David Rowe – graduate assistant
- Greg Sullivan – graduate assistant
- Matt Childers – video coordinator
- Taylor Jorgensen – football equipment manager
- Jessica Larmony – director of football operations
- Arno Rheinberger – football athletic trainer
- Steve Shimko – director of football player personnel
- Dan Nichol – strength and conditioning coach
- Dan Wenger – assistant strength and conditioning coach
Early dominance (1906–47)
From Western Michigan's first season of football in 1906 until they joined the MAC in 1949, WMU compiled a 187–87–12 (.675) record, going undefeated six times, in 1909, 1913, 1914, 1922, 1932, and 1941. During that stretch, Western Michigan had only seven losing seasons, and only once had back-to-back losing records. In 1922, the team finished 6–0 while outscoring their opponents 160–0.
The early dominance of the Hilltoppers was led by quarterback Walt Olsen and running back Scott Dunlap. In 1916, Olsen led the country in scoring with 17 touchdowns and 36 extra points. Olsen set a school-record with 8 TDs in a single game that season. Dunlap also set a team record with 19 TDs. The only loss in 1916 was to Notre Dame when George Gipp completed a 62-yard drop kick, the longest in football history.
In 1939, WMU began playing at Waldo Stadium. Coinciding with the opening of the new stadium, the Hilltoppers changed their name to avoid confusion with athletic teams at Western Kentucky University and Marquette University. A contest was held to come up with a new name and assistant football coach John Gill suggested "broncos." In support of the decision, the W Club's semi-annual publication, The Hilltopper, was renamed The Bronco.
Struggling in the MAC (1948–86)
Western Michigan joined the MAC in 1948. At that time, the MAC consisted of Miami University, Ohio University, University of Cincinnati, Western Reserve University, and Butler University. The Broncos won their first conference game 26–0 over Western Reserve and finished with a 6–3 record, good for second place. However, WMU would finish second or higher only 4 times in the next 39 years, compiling a 102–141–8 (.422) conference record in that stretch.
In 1961, Western Michigan finished second in the MAC with a 4–1–1 record, one-half game behind Bowling Green State University. Despite the second-place finish, WMU was invited to the Aviation Bowl in Dayton, OH. In freezing rain and snow, the Broncos lost to the University of New Mexico 28–12.
1966 saw a 7–3 season and WMU's first MAC football championship, which it shared with Miami. That season, tackle Bob Rowe won his second MAC Lineman of the Year Award. Rowe would go on to a 10-year National Football League Several players from the 1980s also played professionally including Duane Wilson USFL, John Offerdahl and Tom Toth for the Miami Dolphins, and Mark Garylchk. Tom Nutten won a super bowl ring with the St. Louis Rams. Jack Harbaugh's first team went 7–2–2 and were second in the MAC. The defense that year was among the best in the nation.
The Golden Years: The Molde era (1987–96)
In December 1986, Al Molde was hired to replace Jack Harbaugh. Molde had spent the previous four seasons as head coach at Eastern Illinois University where he led the Panthers to two playoff appearances (1983 and 1986) and a top 5 national ranking in 1986 (his 1986 squad was led by quarterback Sean Payton, current head coach of the NFL's New Orleans Saints).
The hiring paid immediate dividends, as Molde's first WMU squad finished the 1987 season 4–4 in the MAC (5–6 overall) and was much more competitive than recent WMU squads had been. Molde's first notable win came in the MAC opener, a 34–27 win at Bowling Green State University which was only two seasons removed from an 11–1 season.
In only his second year, Molde orchestrated the single greatest season in WMU history, leading the Broncos to a postseason bowl game for the first time since 1961. The 1988 season began with five consecutive dominating wins over the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the University of Toledo, Illinois State University, Bowling Green, and Miami University by a cumulative score of 177–65. The win over Wisconsin in Madison was WMU's first ever over a Big Ten team. After a midseason home loss to pre-season MAC favorite Kent State University, WMU found itself with little margin for error during the season's home stretch as they faced in-state rivals Eastern Michigan University and Central Michigan University in back-to-back contests. In the 31–24 win over EMU, the Bronco defense managed a goal line stand, stopping EMU on the 1 yard line on the last play of the game, to preserve the win. The following week against CMU, a then-record crowd of more than 32,000 jammed Waldo Stadium to see WMU rout the rival Chippewas 42–24, which stopped an 11-game winless streak in the heated rivalry dating back to 1976. That win set up a winner-take-all showdown in Muncie against Ball State University the following week. The winner would claim the outright MAC title and a berth in the California Bowl to face Big West champion Fresno State University. The game was played in soggy conditions and was a defensive struggle. Three field goals by John Creek along with an opportunistic defense carried WMU to the 16–13 win, locking up the school's first, and only, outright MAC football championship. In the locker room after the game, Molde credited his players, coaches, and the Kalamazoo community for playing a part in helping to turn one of the MAC's worst programs into a champion in two short seasons. With the MAC title in hand, WMU played two more meaningless regular season games (losing at Northern Illinois University and winning the home finale against Ohio University) before heading to California for the bowl game.
On December 10, 1988, WMU faced Fresno State in the California Bowl (the game was played at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, which provided a huge home field advantage for Jim Sweeney's team). The Broncos entered as significant underdogs, and after falling behind 14–0 early, it appeared that WMU was outgunned. However, WMU reeled off 17 straight points to take a 17–14 lead at halftime and the game remained close throughout, as Fresno State had to rally for a 35–30 win. WMU wrapped up the 1988 season at 9–3, and the 1988 team remains the only outright MAC champion in WMU history. Several members of the 1988 team went on to play professionally at some level, including quarterback Tony Kimbrough, offensive lineman Kevin Haverdink, defensive lineman Joel Smeenge, wide receiver Robert Oliver, and running back Robert Davis.
Graduation losses hit the 1989 team hard, and the team was one of the youngest in the MAC. WMU set an NCAA record with four losses by a single point (to Eastern Michigan, Ball State, Toledo, and Bowling Green), and finished the 1989 season at 3–5 in the MAC and 5–6 overall.
The 1990 team bounced back to post a solid 7–4 campaign (5–3 in the MAC), and paved the way for a series of winning seasons in years to come. The 1991 and 1992 teams finished 6–5 and 7–3–1, respectively, setting the stage for two of the best teams Molde produced during his tenure.
The 1993 season started off with a humiliating home loss to I-AA Youngstown State University. It was followed by a tough road loss to Purdue University, which left WMU at 0–2 and facing the prospect of a long season. However, the Broncos righted the ship and reeled off wins in seven in their last nine games (with one tie) to finish the year at 7–3–1 (6–1–1 in the MAC). Following the 1993 loss to Purdue, WMU embarked on its most successful run during the Molde era. In its next 14 games, a stretch that covered the remainder of the 1993 season and the first half of 1994, WMU posted a 12–1–1 mark. Due to a quirk in the MAC schedule, WMU and Ball State did not play head-to-head in 1993, which denied Molde's Broncos the chance to earn a second outright MAC title. Instead, Ball State finished 7–0–1 in the conference, won the title, and received the subsequent automatic berth in the Las Vegas Bowl. Following his team's 14–14 tie with WMU, then-Bowling Green head coach Gary Blackney (whose team had played both WMU and Ball State during the season), remarked, "Western Michigan is by far the best team we've played in the conference."
With nearly all of the starters returning from the 1993 team, the 1994 Broncos entered the season as MAC favorites. Early on, they did nothing to disappoint as they raced to a 5–0 mark with wins over Miami, Western Illinois University, Iowa State University, the University of Akron, and Kent State University. In October, WMU traveled to Mt Pleasant to face arch-rival Central Michigan. This game was a turning point for the WMU program, and many believe that this game was the first step in what turned out to be a controversial ending to the Molde era a few years later. WMU jumped out to a 14–0 lead, but CMU fought back and eventually held off the Broncos in a 35–28 win. The loss crushed WMU's momentum, as they had been knocking on the door of the Top 25 national rankings, and highlighted the one glaring weakness on Molde's resume. This loss dropped his record vs. CMU to 2–6, and he would end his career 3–7 vs. CMU. The following week, WMU's hopes of a MAC title ended with a 16–13 loss to Ball State. Around this time, team chemistry problems became public, providing a distraction to the team and putting additional stress on the already lukewarm relationship between Molde and WMU's administration, most notably then-WMU president Diether Haenicke. WMU finished up the 1994 season a disappointing 7–4 (5–3 in the MAC).
The 1995 season provided a fresh start after many of the disgruntled players from the 1994 team were kicked off the team or graduated. Following a 1–3 start, WMU rebounded to win six of its last seven games, with the lone loss at 16th-ranked Auburn University. The season was highlighted by a 48–31 win over CMU. Following the 1995 season, Molde was promised a contract extension by the WMU administration. By this point, Molde was working for his 4th different athletic director since coming to WMU.
Molde entered the 1996 campaign with an overall record of 60–38–2, and was the longest-tenured (but among the lowest-paid) coaches in the MAC, but still no contract extension. After a loss to a nationally ranked University of Wyoming team (led by former Purdue head coach Joe Tiller) dropped the young WMU team to 0–7, the WMU administration announced that Molde's contract would not be renewed following the season. The announcement ignited a controversy among many Bronco fans who were unhappy with the way Molde was treated by WMU, particularly by Haenicke, who was ultimately responsible for making the decision. The Broncos closed out the season with back-to-back wins over Bowling Green and Kent State (with the players making a statement against Kent State by winning 76–27) to finish 2–9 (2–6 in the MAC).
Molde finished his WMU career with an overall mark of 62–47–2, having won WMU's only outright MAC title, finishing 3rd or better four times and in the top 4 in the conference in 6 of his 10 seasons. At the time of his departure, he was among the top 10 in career wins (168) for active NCAA Division I-A coaches. Molde remains WMU's all-time leader for wins, tied with Bill Spaulding.
Up and down under Darnell (1997–2004)
Initially the Broncos' fortunes turned around immediately under Gary Darnell, who led WMU to an eight win season in 1997. The program had a seven-win season in 1998, including a surprising road victory over Vanderbilt, but also had a disappointing loss to Central Michigan.
Building on the initial success of the Molde-era recruits, Darnell took the Broncos to back-to-back 1999 and 2000 MAC West Division Championships, falling both years to host Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. Because of the loss in the MAC Championship game, the program failed to become bowl eligible and see further post-season play. However, the disappointment wasn't enough to keep Darnell off the scouting list of BCS schools such as North Carolina, Rutgers, Missouri, Oklahoma State, and Virginia Tech. Some say the constant overtures from BCS programs to Darnell led to the program's progressive decline.
The 2001 season saw the momentum of the program slowing, with a five-win season and a loss to Central Michigan. Slowing further in 2002, the program won four games, managing to defeat both Central Michigan in Mount Pleasant and Eastern Michigan University in the same season. Some optimism was felt in Kalamazoo for the 2003 season, with high expectations for the program dashed quickly, after a blowout by Virginia, and losses began mounting after the Broncos lost to Ball State, Northern Illinois, Marshall, and Toledo.
The 2004 season was a complete disaster. After a blowout of Division I-AA UT–Martin, the Broncos piled up nine uninspiring losses, only being competitive against Illinois and Eastern Michigan. But it wasn't enough, for the team lost 10 straight games and didn't beat a single Division I-A team. Despite a slight minority of fans and alumni who wanted to give Darnell one more season, the majority, including the administration, wanted change. The program's attendance in 2004 was abysmal and the program was deep in red ink, ultimately leading to Darnell's termination due to the losing season as well as an aggressive bid for the job by then-incoming Bronco coach, Bill Cubit. Regardless, Coach Darnell would go down as one of the best coaches to come through the Western Michigan program's storied history.
The Cubit Years (2005-2012)
After the inaugural season of Bill Cubit in 2005, which was 7-5 and marked a significant improvement in the WMU program from 2004, the Broncos aimed to do well in the 2006 season.
The Fleck Years (2012-present)
All-time win-loss record
Michigan Collegiate Conference
MAC West Division
The Broncos have participated in six NCAA bowl games, losing each of them:
- 1961 season – 1961 Aviation Bowl, L 28–12 vs. [[New Mexico Lobos football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.New Mexico]]
- 1988 season – 1988 California Bowl, L 35–30 vs. [[Fresno State Bulldogs football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Fresno State]]
- 2006 season – 2007 International Bowl, L 27–24 vs. Cincinnati
- 2008 season – 2008 Texas Bowl, L 38–14 vs. Rice
- 2011 season – 2011 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, L 37–32 vs. Purdue
- 2014 season – 2014 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, L 38–24 vs. Air Force
- CMU–WMU Rivalry Trophy – Central Michigan Chippewas
- Michigan MAC Trophy – Central Michigan Chippewas and Eastern Michigan Eagles
The following players hold individual NCAA records:
- Corey Alston, most yards gained by a freshman in a game, 263 yards on nine catches vs. Eastern Michigan, November 1, 1997
- Jason Babin
- Cory Flom, most blocked field goals in a game, 2 blocked kicks vs. Indiana, September 2, 2006
- Tim Hiller
- Ameer Ismail
- Greg Jennings
- Tim Lester, most seasons gaining 2,000 or more yards passing, 4 seasons, 1996: 2,189 yards, 1997: 2,160 yards, 1998: 3,311 yards, 1999: 3,639 yards
- Mike Prindle
- Most points scored by kicking in a game, 24 points (seven field goals and three point after touchdowns) vs. Marshall, September 29, 1984
- Most field goals attempted in a game, 9 attempts vs. Marshall, September 29, 1984
- Most field goals made in a game, 7 field goals vs. Marshall, September 29, 1984
The following are team NCAA records:
- Jordan White (1,378 yards on 94 catches) and Juan Nunez (1,032 yards on 91 catches), two or more players on the same team each gaining at least 1,000 yards receiving, 2010
- Team led NCAA in passing defense in 1976, 78.5 yards/game
- Team led NCAA in passing defense in 1992, 83.2 yards/game
- NCAA Most improved team in 1997, 6 wins more than in 1996
Former and current NFL players
- Jason Babin – LB, Drafted 1st round (27th overall) of 2004 NFL Draft
- E. J. Biggers – CB, Drafted 7th round (217th overall) of 2009 NFL Draft
- Ray Bray – G-DG, Drafted 9th round (76th overall) of 1939 NFL Draft
- Charley Carr – B, Undrafted
- Ed Chlebek – QB, Undrafted
- Jerald Collins – LB, Undrafted
- Terry Crews – LB, Drafted 11th round (281st overall) of 1991 NFL Draft
- Vern Davis – DB, Undrafted
- Louis Delmas – DB, Drafted 2nd round (33rd Overall) by Detroit Lions of 2009 NFL Draft
- Tyson DeVree – TE, Undrafted, DeVree played at WMU his freshman and sophomore years before transferring
- Mark Garalczyk – DT-DE, Drafted 6th round (146th overall) of 1987 NFL Draft
- Gene Hamlin – C, Undrafted
- Kevin Haverdink – T, Drafted 5th round (133rd overall) of 1989 NFL Draft
- Steve Hawkins – WR, Drafted 6th round (166th overall) of 1994 NFL Draft
- Paul Hutchins – T, Drafted 6th round (152nd overall) of 1993 NFL Draft
- Greg Jennings – WR, Drafted 2nd round (52nd overall) of 2006 NFL Draft
- Jeff Kacmarek – NT, Undrafted
- Roger Lawson – RB, Drafted 15th round (377th overall) of 1972 NFL Draft
- Jermaine Lewis, WR-DB, Undrafted
- Dale Livingston – K, Drafted 3rd round (83rd overall) of 1968 NFL Draft
- John Lomakoski – T, Drafted 4th round (48th overall) of 1962 NFL Draft
- Bob Lurtsema – DT-DE, Undrafted
- Art Macioszczyk – FB, Drafted 27th round (252nd pick) of 1943 NFL Draft
- Chris Maragos – WR, undrafted
- Joel Mason – E, Undrafted
- Jack Matheson – E-G, Undrafted
- Rocco Moore – G-T, Drafted 11th round (283rd overall) of 1977 NFL Draft
- Jake Moreland – FB-TE, Undrafted
- Kendrick Mosley – WR, Undrafted
- Tom Nütten – G-C, Drafted 7th round (221st overall) of 1995 NFL Draft
- John Offerdahl – LB, Drafted 2nd round (52nd overall) of 1986 NFL Draft
- John Potter – K, Drafted 7th round (251st overall) of 2012 NFL Draft
- Keith Pretty – TE, Drafted 16th round (411th overall) of 1973 NFL Draft
- Mike Prindle – K, Undrafted
- John Rapacz – C-LB, Drafted 3rd round (15th overall) of 1947 NFL Draft
- Joe Reitz – OT, Undrafted free agent, Reitz only played college basketball at WMU
- Rudy Rosatti – T, Undrafted
- Bob Rowe – DT-DE, Drafted 2nd round (43rd overall) of 1967 NFL Draft
- Tony Scheffler – TE, Drafted second round (61st overall) of 2006 NFL Draft
- Herman Seborg – G-B, Undrafted
- Tom Sims – DT-NT, Drafted 6th round (152nd overall) of 1990 NFL Draft
- Mike Siwek – DT, Drafted 11th round (267th overall) of 1970 NFL Draft
- Joel Smeenge – DE-LB, Drafted 3rd round (71st overall) of 1990 NFL Draft
- Warren Smith – G, Undrafted
- Tom Toth – G-T, Drafted 4th round (102nd overall) of 1985 NFL Draft
- Jordan White – WR, Drafted 7th round (244th overall) of 2012 NFL Draft
- Pete Wysocki – LB, Undrafted
Live coverage of Western Michigan University athletics are covered mostly by Bronco Insider through the school's athletics website, http://www.wmubroncos.com, or occasionally on http://www.mac-sports.com, the MAC's official website. Video is provided online for most WMU home football, basketball (men's and women's), baseball and hockey games, as well as some away games. Games can be viewed by purchasing them a la carte or by paying a fixed monthly or yearly subscription fee.
Bronco Radio Network
The Bronco Radio Network (BRN) covers football, hockey and men's and women's basketball in various southwestern Michigan markets. In addition to video, the BRN audio feed is also available through the Bronco Insider service offered by WMU athletics.
- 94.1 FM WWDK: Lansing, Battle Creek, Jackson, (football, men's basketball)
- 96.1 FM WMAX: Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Holland, Grand Haven (football, men's basketball)
- 96.5 FM WZOX: Portage, Kalamazoo (flagship station: football, men's basketball, hockey)
- 100.1 FM WBCH: Hastings (football, hockey)
- 1660 AM WQLR: Kalamazoo(flagship station: women's basketball)
Bronco Review is a weekly radio show that reviews the recent ongoings of the Western Michigan University athletic programs.
Bronco Review featuring the voice of the Broncos, Robin Hook, and head football coach Bill Cubit, includes highlights and post-game comments after every WMU football game. The 30-minute show airs weekly on WLLA TV-64 on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. and repeat each Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
Bronco Update is a daily update on issues that are immediately impacting the Western Michigan University athletic programs.
- 92.5 FM WZUU: Mattawan, Kalamazoo
- 92.7 FM WYVN: Holland, Saugatuck, South Haven, Grand Haven
- 100.9 FM WQXC: Allegan, Kalamazoo
- 590 AM WKZO: Kalamazoo
- 1400 AM WBFN: Battle Creek
- 1590 AM WTVB: Coldwater
- 1660 AM WQLR: Kalamazoo
ESPN also offers coverage of some MAC football and basketball games, as well as Comcast Local which is a regional network available to Comcast cable subscribers in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio which is where most MAC schools are located.
Future non-conference opponents
The following table lists WMU's future scheduled non-conference opponents:
|vs Michigan State||at Northwestern||at USC||at Michigan State|
|at Georgia Southern||at Illinois||at Michigan State|
|vs Murray State||vs Georgia Southern||vs Idaho|
|at Ohio State|
- "Football – 2014 Coaches". wmubroncos.com. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
- "2011 Football Bowl Subdivision Records" (PDF). NCAA. p. 9. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
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- "2011 Football Bowl Subdivision Records" (PDF). NCAA. p. 43. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
- "2011 Football Bowl Subdivision Records" (PDF). NCAA. p. 44. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
- "2011 Football Bowl Subdivision Records" (PDF). NCAA. p. 10. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
- "2011 Football Bowl Subdivision Records" (PDF). NCAA. p. 38. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
- "2011 Football Bowl Subdivision Records" (PDF). NCAA. p. 14. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
- "2011 Football Bowl Subdivision Records" (PDF). NCAA. p. 59. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
- "2011 Football Bowl Subdivision Records" (PDF). NCAA. p. 63. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
- "West. Michigan Players/Alumni". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
- "Western Michigan Broncos Football Schedules and Future Schedules". fbschedules.com. Retrieved February 25, 2015.