The architect of the offense that vaulted Missouri to national prominence and helped make quarterback Chase Daniel the school’s first Heisman Trophy finalist is moving on to become the next head coach at Wyoming.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel confirmed Monday that his offensive coordinator, Dave Christensen, would take the Wyoming job vacated when Joe Glenn was fired Nov. 23 after four losing seasons in six years.
“I don’t know if it’s been announced yet, but he will be taking the head-coaching job at Wyoming,” Pinkel said on the Big 12 conference call Monday. “I’m very proud of him, and I think it’s a great reflection on our program. He’s just done a great job.”
Christensen, who transformed Missouri’s offense by bringing in the spread in 2005, will be the first assistant coach to depart from Pinkel’s staff since he was hired in 2001. He actually has been with Pinkel much longer than that, serving as his offensive line coach for four years and offensive coordinator for another four at Toledo.
Pinkel said Christensen, a graduate of Everett High School, would remain with the 19th-ranked Tigers through the Big 12 championship game Saturday against No. 3 Oklahoma and whatever bowl game they play in, although he’ll devote some time to hiring a staff and recruiting for Wyoming.
“He’ll finish his responsibilities. That’s his desire,” Pinkel said.
Christensen’s offense at Missouri ranked fourth in the nation with a 45-point average and was also fourth in passing (344 yards per game) and sixth in total offense (509 ypg).
“He’s going to take that program to levels it’s never seen,” said Daniel, who is fourth in the nation with 3,880 yards passing and ranks fifth in total offense and seventh in passer rating.
“What he’s going to bring is an offense that’s just insane. It’s a player’s dream to play under a coach like that. The type of things he does on the offensive side of the football are second to none. He’s a genius … and it’s really shown over the last two or three years here.”
Christensen played at the University of Washington from 1980-82, when Pinkel was an assistant coach there. After several stops, including high schools and a junior college, Christensen broke into the major college coaching ranks at Washington in 1989 as an offensive-line coach for Pinkel, who was then the offensive coordinator.
The two were together for an 11-0-1 season at Toledo in 1995, but found their greatest success after the dramatic change in his offense for the 2005 season. Missouri reached the No. 1 ranking last season.
For a story on Christensen written last year by Herald writer Rich Myhre click here