What does UW athletics and the U.S. Presidency have in common?
LARAMIE -- What do Wyoming athletics and the President of the United States have in common?
But, we decided to dig a little deeper and find out who the commander in chief was during some big moments in Cowboys history. Also, did you know a current UW recruit shares his name with the 17th President? That would be Cheyenne's Andrew Johnson, a safety who will arrive in Laramie for the 2021 season.
Plenty of other players -- on the hardwood and gridiron -- share a last name with a former sitting president.
Trust us, we looked them up.
Here's a compiled list of big moments in Wyoming sports history on this President's Day.
Wyoming played its first football game on Feb. 22 of this year. That was a 14-0 victory over Cheyenne High in Laramie. Benjamin Harrison (R), a one-term president, was in charge back then. Grover Cleveland (D), who served the four years before Harrison, once again became president 10 days after the Cowboys first game.
Franklin D Roosevelt (D) was the sitting president when Kenny Sailors and the Wyoming Cowboys knocked off Georgetown, 46-34, inside New York's Madison Square Garden to claim their one and only national championship on the hardwood. To make the weekend that much sweeter, two nights later, the Pokes knocked off NIT champion St. Johns, 52-47.
You could call this year the declaration of war -- Border War. Wyoming and Colorado State started a rivalry that has now stretched into three different centuries. In the first meeting, the Cowboys fell 12-0 to what was then known as Colorado Agriculture. The first three games were all played in Fort Collins, 65 miles south of the Pokes' Laramie campus. William McKinley (R) was the U.S. President during the first meeting. Wyoming didn't pick up its first win in the series until 1910. William Howard Taft (R) was in the oval office then. There have been 22 presidents since this bitter battle began with the Rams. Wyoming has also had 31 different football coaches in that span.
Those two rivals listed above met on the basketball court for the first time on Jan. 27, 1911. CSU -- or Colorado Agriculture -- won that one 20-17 in Fort Collins. William Howard Taft (R) was in the White House back then. The Rams -- or Aggies -- won the first 11 games in the series. The Cowboys first victory came back on Feb. 20, 1916, just two days before President's Day. The man in charge back then was Woodrow Wilson (D). By the way, Wyoming leads the all-time series, 135-100. Nice comeback, huh?
The Cowboys appeared in and won their first bowl game in school history when Harry S. Truman (D) was the commander in chief. Wyoming beat Washington & Lee 20-7 in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. Bowden Wyatt was the head coach in Laramie in those days.
Here is who was president during the Pokes' other bowl victories:
* 1956 - Wyoming 21, Texas Tech 14 - Sun Bowl - Dwight D. Eisenhower (R)
* 1958 - Wyoming 14, Hardin-Simmons 6 - Sun Bowl - Dwight D. Eisenhower (R)
* 1966 - Wyoming 28, Florida State 20 - Sun Bowl - Lyndon B. Johnson (D)
* 2004 - Wyoming 24, UCLA 21 - Las Vegas Bowl - George W. Bush (R)
* 2009 - Wyoming 35, Fresno State 28 (2OT) - New Mexico Bowl - George W. Bush (R)
* 2017 - Wyoming 37, Central Michigan 14 - Idaho Potato Bowl - Barack Obama (D)
* 2019 - Wyoming 38, Georgia State 17 - Arizona Bowl - Donald Trump (R)
This is the year Wyoming played its first basketball game. That came on Aug. 21. It was a 17-5 win over the Laramie Town Team. Theodore Roosevelt (R) was the U.S. President that entire season, one that ended with a 4-2 overall record for W. Yates' Cowboys. UW knocked off that pesky Laramie Town Team a couple more times that season and also got the best of the University Scrubs. The two losses came to Fort Warren ... and that Town Team.
Feb. 16, 2004
Not much went right for Steve McClain's Cowboys during this particular season, but on a Big Monday inside the Arena-Auditorium late in the season, the Cowboys had no interest in giving the streaking Utah Utes a pardon. Jay Straight netted a game-high 22 points and freshman Mikel Watson sank a trio of triples en route to a career night with 15 points in a 74-65 upset of the Utes. Andrew Bogut scored 14 in the President's Day loss to the Pokes in Laramie. That snapped a 4-game winning streak for the visitors and gave UW just its second victory over the previous nine outings. The Utes went on to win the Mountain West Conference Tournament and lost to Boston College in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Oh, and George W. Bush was the President of the United States.
Which Wyoming basketball players actually share a last name with a former U.S. President? Well, there have been many:
* George Washington: Leonard Washington (2012-13), Derek Washington (1996-98), Trey Washington (2014-16)
* John Adams and John Quincy Adams: Josh Adams (2013-16), Brandon Adams (1981), David Adams (2003-04), Jack Adams (1973-76), Lou Adams (2017-18)
* Thomas Jefferson: Robert Jefferson (1964)
* Andrew Jackson: Desmar Jackson (2010-11), Gary Jackson (1973), Mike Jackson (1980-83)
* William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison: Daylen Harrison (2010-11)
* Zachary Taylor: Joseph Taylor (2007-08), TJ Taylor (2019-20)
* Franklin Pierce: John Pierce (1914), Ora Pat Pierce (1925-27)
* James Buchanan: Lloyd Buchanan (1918-19)
* Andrew Johnson and Lyndon B. Johnson: Anthony Johnson (1980-83), Kent Johnson (1965-68), Leland Johnson (1922), Robert Johnson (1922-23), Savalious "Sly" Johnson (1995-96), Tariq Johnson (2019), Tyson Johnson (2008-09), Vincent Johnson (1981)
* Ulysses S. Grant: U.S. Grant (1910-13)
* Woodrow Wilson: Bob Wilson (1966-69), Oliver Wilson (1987), Roy Wilson (1968-71)
* John F. Kennedy: Herb Kennedy (1906)
How about on the gridiron?
* Washington: Sydney Washington (2018), Steve Washington (1970-71), Vic Washington (1966-68)
* Adams: Casey Adams (2000-03), Dick Adams (1895), Richard Adams (1952)
* Jefferson: George Jefferson (1955-56)
* James Monroe: Scott Monroe (1993)
* Jackson: Ernie Jackson (1973-74), Harvey Jackson (1985), Javaree Jackson (2017-19), Je'Ney Jackson (1994-97), Kaden Jackson (2015-18), Keith Jackson (1984-87), Roderrick Jackson (2000-03), Terry Jackson (1980)
* Harrison: Ivan Harrison (2003-06)
* Taylor: Gregg Taylor (1979-80), Herbert Taylor (1957-58), Howard Taylor (1953), Jerry Taylor (1950), John Taylor (1983), Kearnice Taylor (1991), Nimmo Taylor (1942), Paul Taylor (1968-69), Robert Taylor (1903), Tom Taylor (1982-84), Toriano Taylor (1985)
* Pierce: Art Pierce (1950-52), Dan Pierce (1968), John T Pierce (1913-14)
* Buchanan: Lloyd Buchanan (1916-20)
* Johnson: Andrew Johnson (2021), Alan Johnson (1962), Brian Johnson (1998), CJ Johnson (2016-17), Chase Johnson (2003-06), Chris Johnson (2007-08), Cody Johnson (1988), Craig Johnson (1980-82), David Johnson (1931), Eddie Johnson (1999), Frank Johnson (1930-33), Glen Johnson (1997), Jere S. Johnson (1960), Kenny Johnson (1992-93), Rex Johnson (1974-75), Weston Johnson (2006-09), Leslie Johnson (1920-25)
* Grant: Bob Grant (1964-66), U.S. Grant (1910-11)
* Rutherford B. Hayes: Bob Hayes (1961), Tim Hayes (2013-14)
* Grover Cleveland: Lloyd Cleveland (1914)
* Wilson: Aaron Wilson (1994-95), Anthony Wilson (2007), Bob Wilson (1919-21), Charles Wilson (1969), Charles B. Wilson (1977-79), Cliff Wilson (1954-55), Doug Wilson (1973-77), John Wilson (1999-02), Logan Wilson (2016-19), Sam Wilson (1894-99), Wayne Wilson (1971-72)
* Kennedy: Herbert Kennedy (1941), Zack Kennedy (2007-09)
* Gerald Ford: JB Ford (1946-47), Marcus Ford (1999-01), Michael Ford (2004-07)
* Jimmy Carter: Clarence Carter (1953-55), Lee Carter (1988), Lou Carter (1980), Mick Carter (1969-71), Sam Carter (1955-56), Thomas Carter (1979)
That season, 10 Wyoming football players earned All-American honors: Eddie Talboom, CT Hewgley, Dick Campbell, Tom Drost, Dewey McConnell, Selmer Pederson, Doug Reeves, Marlin Smith, Marvin Strauch and Jerry Taylor. Truman was the U.S. President at the time.
Way back then, Jim Clayton became the first Wyoming player to be drafted into professional football. He was selected 191st overall in the sixth round by the Philadelphia Eagles. UW teammate, Hank Kolaskinski, was taken 16 picks later by the Boston Yanks. Truman was the president then, too.
Cassh Maluia is the last Cowboy to hear his name called in an NFL Draft. The Patriots took him in the sixth round in 2020. Fellow UW linebacker Logan Wilson was taken by the Bengals in the third round of that same draft. Donald Trump (R) was the sitting U.S. President.
There are currently this many former Wyoming Cowboys in the NFL. If Eddie Yarborough finds a team, you can tack on another digit. Who was the 16th president in U.S. history? That would be Abraham Lincoln (R). You can find him on the penny or the $5 bill.
That's how many conference titles Wyoming football has under its belt. The first one came back in 1949. Truman was in office. The last one came back in 1993 when Joe Tiller's Cowboys finished 8-4 and played Kansas State in the Copper Bowl. George H. W. Bush (R) was the commander in chief then.
Cowboy basketball has racked up that many conference titles in its history. The first one came back in 1928 when Calvin Coolidge (R) was running the show. The last regular-season championship came in 2002. George W. Bush (R) was in the oval office.
That Truman fella was in charge for all kinds of UW firsts. Here's another one: Ron Livingstone became the first UW basketball player to get drafted into the NBA. He went to the Knicks with the 45th pick in the fifth round. His teammate, Bill Strannigan, went one pick later to the St. Louis Bombers. The last Cowboy to get picked came back in 2019. Sacramento took Justin James with the 40th overall pick. Trump was in office then.