UW’s Top 50 football players: No. 30
LARAMIE -- During this summer series we are going to countdown the Top 50 football players in 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 me is Robert Gagliardi, Jared Newland, Ryan 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 more fair.
Don't agree with a selection? Feel free to sound off on our Twitter page @7220sports.
Linebacker, 1966-68, Laramie, Wyoming
Here's why: A University of Wyoming football star from Laramie?
Doesn't get much better than that, right?
Jim House was that guy, arguably one of the best linebackers to ever lace them up in his hometown. This guy was an all-conference player in 1967 and '68. As a senior, he earned the title of honorable mention All-American. In 1966, he helped lead UW to a 28-20 Sun Bowl victory over Florida State.
He was one of only eight college players selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the Senior Bowl.
House's 18-tackle performance against Border War rival Colorado State in '67 -- a 13-10 Cowboy victory -- is still tied for the seventh most in a game in program history. House was named the "National Lineman of the Week" by Sports Illustrated for that performance.
That win over the Rams was also the first in the Bronze Boot series.
House did nothing but win as a Laramie Plainsman. Nothing changed across town inside War Memorial Stadium.
Wyoming claimed three straight Western Athletic Conference titles with House leading the defense. In 1967 and '68, the Cowboys' defense never gave up more than 20 points in a game. They also pitched a shutout and held the opposition to single-digit scoring six times.
Unfortunately for the Pokes, that 20-point game was against LSU in the Sugar Bowl.
Wyoming led the nation in rushing defense in both of those seasons. The '68 team boasted the top overall defense in the country.
House was enshrined in the Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013.
McKinney's take: There’s nothing better than having a native son become a star for his state’s university.
Jim House did just that.
He was one of the very best high school athletes ever to come out of the State of Wyoming, and went on to star for the Cowboys at linebacker. House was an All-American fullback for Laramie’s top-ranked high school team that produced a 25-2 record during his career. He also was an All-State basketball player and lettered in track.
It was his dream to play for the Cowboys. Not only did he play for his beloved Pokes, he was a star linebacker from 1966 through 1968, three of the greatest years in Wyoming football history. A three-year letterman, he was a co-captain with Gene Huey his senior season. Born and raised in Laramie, House was one of the finest football players ever to come out of the state.
Strong, fast and a deadly tackler, House had a built-in guidance system for the football. He possessed tremendous instincts for the game, and was the defensive quarterback, making all of the formation calls. He was an All-Western Athletic Conference performer for two seasons, and during his junior year was chosen Sports Illustrated’s “Lineman of the Week” for his outstanding play against Colorado State.
At the time, that was one of the biggest honors a player could achieve as a collegian. In the 1968 Sugar Bowl, he produced eight tackles, three assists and a pass deflection against LSU.
While being listed among the greatest linebackers in Wyoming history, House went on to become an outstanding collegiate coach as well, including nine years at Wyoming under three head coaches.
How the panel voted: Cody Tucker (47), Robert Gagliardi (36), Jared Newland (34), Ryan Thorburn (40), Kevin McKinney (12)
Cody Tucker: Brand Manger and creator of 7220sports.com. Tucker has covered the Cowboys since June of 2019, but was a season-ticket holder for nearly three decades. Tucker has also covered Michigan State University Athletics for the Lansing State Journal and Detroit Free Press and the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins during his 10-year journalism career
Robert Gagliardi: Former sports editor and University of Wyoming beat reporter for WyoSports. Gagliardi covered the Cowboys from more than a quarter century. He also covered the team at the Branding Iron, the UW student newspaper. Gagliardi also co-authored the book: The Border War: The Bronze Boot Rivalry Between Colorado State and Wyoming
Jared Newland: Currently the local sales manager for Townsquare Media SE Wyoming, Newland worked with and around Wyoming athletics for 20 years, starting as a student athletic trainer in 1990. Newland has also served in the Sports Information Office, the Cowboy Joe Club, Wyoming Sports Properties and was a UW Athletics Hall of Fame Committee Member from 2002-14.
Ryan Thorburn: Currently covering the Oregon Ducks for The Register-Guard, Thorburn also covered the Cowboys in the early and mid-90's for the Branding Iron and Casper Star Tribune. He has also written four books about Wyoming Athletics: The Border War: The Bronze Boot Rivalry Between Colorado State and Wyoming, Cowboy Up: Kenny Sailors, The Jump Shot and Wyoming’s Championship Basketball History, Lost Cowboys: The Story of Bud Daniel and Wyoming Baseball and Black 14: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Wyoming Football
Kevin McKinney: Currently the senior associate athletics director for external affairs at the University of Wyoming, McKinney also serves as the radio color commentator for Wyoming football and men's basketball. McKinney has been involved with UW Athletics in some capacity since 1972. He was also inducted into the Wyoming Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2015.