* University of Wyoming press release

LARAMIE -- University of Wyoming head football coach Jay Sawvel announced the addition of Jeff Phelps to the coaching staff on Tuesday. The veteran coach will mentor the defensive tackles for the Brown Gold. He takes over for Oscar Giles, who accepted the same position at the University of Houston.

He has nearly 25 seasons of experience in coaching and spent time with Sawvel at Northern Illinois and Minnesota.

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"I worked with coach Phelps for three seasons at Northern Illinois and six seasons at Minnesota and I know the quality of coach we are adding, but most importantly the quality of person we are bringing into the program,", Sawvel said. "He will fit seamlessly into our program and I'm excited for him to get started with players."

Among his career highlights, Phelps has been part of 15 bowl games and coached two-time Mid-American Conference MVP Larry English, a first-round draft pick in 2009. He was part of a Minnesota team in 2016 that ranked 12th in the nation in tackles for loss, and his 2018 Washington State team led the Pac-12 with 38 sacks. He spent nine seasons coaching with Cowboy head coach Sawvel at NIU and Minnesota.

"It is a great opportunity to reconnect with coach Sawvel and not just him, I know a lot of the staff by working with them before and meeting them out on the road recruiting," Phelps said. "My family and I are very excited to be in Wyoming and we are excited to connect with family in this great area of the country."

Phelps comes to Wyoming after one season as defensive tackles coach at North Dakota State. The Bison made an appearance in the FCS Semifinals last season. He helped mentor Eli Mostaert to All-Missouri Valley Football Conference honors last season.

Phelps also coached the field-goal block team, as NDSU blocked an extra point to earn a spot in the FCS Semifinals.

Prior to his time at NDSU, Phelps spent three seasons coaching the defensive line at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs played in three bowl games during his time in Starkville and sported an 8-4 record in 2022.

He spent 2017-09 on staff at Washington State. In 2019 Phelps mentored Lamonte McDougle who was the Cougars highest-graded defensive interior lineman according to Pro Football Focus. McDougle was especially strong in the run game, ranking fifth in the Pac-12 with an 80.6 run-defense grade. Will Rodgers III led the Cougars in sacks with 4.0 and was second in tackles for loss with 6.0.

He racked up 25 total pressures per PFF, which ranked sixth in the conference among defensive interior linemen. Rodgers tied for the league lead in QB hits by a defensive interior lineman with five on the season.

Phelps' 2018 defensive front anchored the Cougar "Speed D" that led the Pac-12 with 38.0 sacks, the ninth-most in Washington State single-season history, and finished second in the league with 88.0 tackles for loss. The defensive line featured just one returning starter but combined for 34.0 tackles for loss and 14.0 sacks, led by All-Pac-12 second-team selection Logan Tago, who set career highs of 10.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.

The Cougars finished the season ranked third in the Pac-12 in rushing defense and No. 42 nationally in total defense.

In 2017, Phelps directed a defensive line that produced 45.5 tackles for loss and 20.0 sacks, helping the Cougar defense to rank in the top 20 in eight different categories. He also mentored Hercules Mata'afa to one of the finest seasons in program history as the redshirt-junior garnered Consensus All-America honors and was named the 2017 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year. Mata'afa registered 10.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss and was named the Associated Press Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.

He spent six seasons as the defensive line coach at the University of Minnesota (2011-16). During his final season there, the Gophers' defense ranked 12th in the nation in tackles for loss, 14th in rushing yards allowed and 22nd in sacks. During his six seasons in Minneapolis, Phelps was a part of five bowl teams and coached four players who earned All-Big Ten honors, including 2013 third team All-American Ra'Shede Hagemen, who was a 2014 second-round draft pick by the Atlanta Falcons.

Phelps joined the Minnesota staff after spending five years coaching at Northern Illinois (2006-10). From 2008-10, he coached the Huskies' defensive line. In 2006-07, Phelps was responsible for coaching the defensive tackles.

Phelps coached defensive end Larry English at NIU. English went on to be named the Mid-American Conference's Most Valuable Player twice and was the 2008 MAC Defensive Player of the Year. He was the 16th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, going to the San Diego Chargers.

Phelps was an All-MAC outside linebacker for Ball State, where he graduated in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in marketing. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Ball State in 1999 before moving on to DePauw as a linebackers and running backs coach (2000-2002) and Hillsdale as a defensive line coach (2003-2005).

Year School Position
1999-00 Ball State Graduate Assistant
2000-2022 Depauw Linebackers/Running Backs
2003-05 Hillsdale Defensive Line
2006-10 Northern Illinois Defensive Tackles
2011-16 Minnesota Defensive Line
2017-19 Washington State Defensive Line
2020-22 Mississippi State Defensive Line
2023 North Dakota State Defensive Tackles
2024-Pres. Wyoming Defensive Tackles

University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

During the summer of 2021, 7220Sports.com counted down the Top 50 football players in University of Wyoming history, presented by Premier Bone & Joint Centers, Worthy of Wyoming.

The rules are simple: What was the player's impact while in Laramie? That means NFL stats, draft status or any other accolade earned outside of UW is irrelevant when it comes to this list.

This isn't a one-man job. This task called for a panel of experts. Joining 7220's Cody Tucker are Robert GagliardiJared NewlandRyan Thorburn, and Kevin McKinney.

We all compiled our own list of 50 and let computer averages do the work. Think BCS -- only we hope this catalog is fairer.

Don't agree with a selection? Feel free to sound off on our Twitter: @7220sports - #Top50UWFB

Gallery Credit: 7220Sports.com

- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players