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CSU Pueblo football coach John Wristen announces retirement

After 15 years, Wristen steps down as head coach, will serve as Athletics Development and External Relations Officer
CSU Pueblo Athletics now allowing spectators at games, other venues follow
Posted at 5:33 PM, Dec 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-13 20:56:42-05

PUEBLO, CO — After 15 seasons, Coach John Wristen announced today that he is stepping down as the head coach of the Colorado State University Pueblo football team Tuesday.

Wristen will now serve as the Athletics Development and External Relations Officer at the university continuing his time at CSU Pueblo in an administrative position.

“We are thrilled that Coach Wristen will continue as a valued member of our Pack. I can’t thank him enough for his service to this institution and for his leadership as head coach of our championship football team,” President Timothy Mottet said. “He’s left his mark on this program, not only as the first head coach for Pack Football but by establishing a culture of winning and giving back to the community. I have full confidence that John’s drive for our athletics programs will allow us to build upon our tradition of excellence and enhance the on-campus experience for every student.”

In his new position, Coach Wristen is responsible for leading fundraising initiatives to help support athletics programs at CSU Pueblo, through his 15 years of coaching the school is hopeful that this position will continue to foster the athletic program with his extensive connections with alumni and professional colleagues throughout the country.

“Coach Wristen has been a dynamic leader for our football program. We look forward to having him in this enhanced role within the athletics department,” said Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Athletics Director, Dr. Paul Plinske.

Coach Wristen began his career with CSU Pueblo in July 2007, and was charged with rebuilding and restructuring the program from the ground up. In his opening season, the CSU Pueblo Thunderwolves finished the season 4-6.

Within seven years Coach Wristen managed to turn the program around and led the team to its first NCAA Division II Championship in 2014.

Wristen was named the 2014 American Football Coaches Association Division II Coach of the Year. He was named the Coach of the Year by the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) consecutively from 2011 to 2015 and received the honor again in 2017.

During his tenure, the Pack has made seven appearances in NCAA Division II playoffs and won seven RMAC Championships.

Coach Wristen wraps his career finishing with the second-best winning percentage among all active NCAA Division II Coaches with an overall record of 123-32, and 100-22 in the RMAC.

“My coaching career actually started at CSU Pueblo in 1984. I was finishing up student teaching and had an opportunity to coach during that last season we had football on campus. Being able to come back as the head coach, when football returned in 2007, was absolutely the highlight of my career. It’s been an unbelievable feeling. I’m grateful to CSU System Chancellor Tony Frank, President Mottet, and Dr. Paul Plinske for supporting my coaching career and for giving me this incredible opportunity to play a larger role at the university,” said Coach Wristen.

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