Central Oklahoma Bronchos football

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Central Oklahoma Bronchos football
2018 Central Oklahoma Bronchos football team
University of Central Oklahoma logo.svg
First season 1902 (1902)
Athletic director Eddie Griffin
Head coach Nick Bobeck
7th season, 30–37 (.448)
Stadium Wantland Stadium
(Capacity: 10,000)
Year built 1964
Field surface FieldTurf
Location Edmond, Oklahoma
NCAA division Division II
Conference Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association
Past conferences Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference
Lone Star Conference
All-time record 627–399–46 (.606)
Bowl record 4–2 (.667)
Playoff appearances 10
Playoff record 10–8
Claimed nat'l titles 2 (1962, 1982)
Conference titles 27
Rivalries Northeastern State
Colors Blue and Bronze[1]
Fight song UCO Fight Song
Mascot Buddy Broncho
Marching band UCO Stampede of Sound
Outfitter Nike
Website www.bronchosports.com

The Central Oklahoma Bronchos football team represents the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) in college football. The team is a member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA), which is in Division II of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The UCO Bronchos football program began in 1902 and has since compiled over 600 wins, two national championships, and 26 conference championships.[2][3][4] As of 2011, the Bronchos were ranked third in NCAA Division II for total wins and ranked 12th in winning percentage (0.621). In 1962, the Bronchos went 11–0 on the season and defeated Lenoir–Rhyne University (NC) 28–13 in the Camellia Bowl to claim its first NAIA national championship.[5] Twenty years later, Central Oklahoma defended its home turf and defeated Colorado Mesa University (then Mesa State College) 14–11 in the NAIA national championship game to take its second title and finish the season with a 10–2 record.[6][7] Despite its rich history in football, Central Oklahoma has struggled beginning in the late 2000s. The program has not participated in the NCAA Division II playoffs since 2003. The Bronchos play their home games at Wantland Stadium, a 10,000-seat football stadium built in 1965. The Bronchos have enjoyed nine undefeated home seasons and are 5–1 in playoff games at Wantland Stadium.


Early history (1902–1911)[edit]

UCO made its football debut in 1902, five years before Oklahoma statehood, during which they were shutout in their only game of the season. In the match, the Oklahoma A&M Aggies defeated coach-less Central by a score of 40–0.[8] The Bronchos did not field a team in 1903, but they resumed play the following year in 1904 after securing their first head coach, Lt. Boyd Hill. Hill stepped down after posting a 2–3 record his first season, and he later went on to coach at Oklahoma A&M during the 1906 season.[9] In 1905, Coach Fenis Bently took the reins of the young football program and compiled a record of 18–33–4 over the span of seven seasons, with over a third of those losses coming against Oklahoma and Oklahoma A&M.[10]

Wantland era (1912–1930)[edit]

After ten years of inconsistent play, the school landed a coach whose name now adorns their stadium in Edmond. Charles W. Wantland took over as the head coach in 1912 and guided Central to 106 victories, six conference championships, and Central State's first undefeated season in 1915, during his 18 years at the helm. Central's first conference championship came in 1914, when they posted a 7–1–1 record. In 1922 Wantland's wife suggested the term Bronchos for the school's athletic programs.[11] The third conference championship came in 1923, the Bronchos were impressive that season, beating its opponents by a combined score of 184–25, including a 14–6 victory over Oklahoma A&M in Stillwater.[12] The Bronchos continued their success by winning their fifth conference championship the following season in which Central defeated the likes of Oklahoma, Baylor (the eventual Southwest Conference Champions), and Tulsa, all on the road.[13][14] 1924 was the year of the program's sole victory over the Oklahoma Sooners. This is notable because the coaches for both schools, Charles W. Wantland (UCO) and Bennie Owen (OU), were later immortalized for their accomplishments in a nearly identical fashion: UCO named its stadium after Wantland, and OU named its playing field after Owen.[7][15] In addition to the stadium, UCO memorialized Coach Wantland by naming the physical education building in his honor.[16] Wantland guided UCO to one more conference championship in 1929 and finished the following year with a final record of 106–43–15 (.692).[17]

Reeds era (1931–1940)[edit]

Former Oklahoma All-American Claude Reeds left West Texas State and took over the CSTC program in 1931. He picked up right where his predecessor left off by winning eight conference championships in his ten years in charge.[4][18] In 1940, Reeds ended his tenure at Central State with an impressive record of 57–28–8 (.656).

Hamilton era (1941–1957)[edit]

After Reeds' departure, Central State hired Dale E. Hamilton to lead the Bronchos to victory. Hamilton did not disappoint, posting a 73–25–3 (.738) and winning eight conference championships in his 12-year post.[4] During this time Hamilton spent two tours of duty in the armed forces, and Gene Smith filled in during the Korean War. After coaching, Hamilton served as the institution's athletic director. The university's Hamilton Field House is named in his honor.[19]

Blevins era (1958–1963)[edit]

Following Hamilton's tough act, Coach Al Blevins managed to take the program to new heights by winning the programs first national championship in 1962. The season prior to their national crown, the Bronchos finished 9–1–0 and won its 20th conference championship. In 1962, Central State went a perfect 11–0 on the season and defeated Lenoir–Rhyne 28–13 in the Camellia Bowl to take its first of two national championships.[20]

Ball era (1964–1976)[edit]

In 1964, Phil Ball replaced Blevins as the Bronchos head coach. After a few rough seasons, including a 3–6–1 record in 1967 the Bronchos rebounded over the next few seasons and won the OCAC championship in 1972, and made the NAIA playoffs. In the final year of Ball's tenure Central State made a transition to the NCAA Division II level. He finished with an overall record of 82–42–6.[21][20]

Howard era (1977–2002)[edit]

In 1977, Gary Howard succeeded Phil Ball as the head coach. He oversaw the program's transition from a brief period in NCAA Division II back to NAIA competition, as an independent.[22] During the first two seasons Howard's Bronchos went 12–8–1. In 1979, he led CSU to the program's third NAIA playoff appearance and an 11–2 record. The Bronchos lost the NAIA National Championship Game to Texas A&I 20–14. Three years later he returned to the playoffs this time winning the NAIA National Championship over Mesa State (now Colorado Mesa) 14–11. Howard also won the NAIA Coach of the Year award. The next season the Bronchos returned to the playoffs but lost to Saginaw Valley State in the first round. In 1985 the Bronchos lost in the first round to Henderson State in the institution's final NAIA playoff appearance.[20] In 1988 the Bronchos re-joined the NCAA where the joined the Lone Star Conference. The Bronchos struggled for several seasons including a 0–10–1 record in 1989. In 1996 the renamed Central Oklahoma Bronchos posted a 9–3 record, finished second in the Lone Star Conference, and made the program's first appearance in the NCAA Division II playoffs. The first game against Chadron State ended in a Broncho victory. The Bronchos lost in the second round against UC Davis.[20] The next season the Lone Star Conference underwent conference expansion, adding schools from Arkansas and Oklahoma, and split into two divisions.[23] The first year of the new format the Bronchos captured the North Division title, and Howard won the North Division coach of the year award.[24] In 1998 the Bronchos finished the regular season undefeated, and won their first Lone Star Conference Championship. However, in the NCAA playoffs the UCO lost in the second round to conference foe Texas A&M–Kingsville. In 2000 TAMU–K forfeited their entire 1998 season following NCAA infractions. In 1999 the Bronchos also won the Conference title. The final three years experienced a decline of a 5–5, 3–8, and 5–6 records. Howard was fired after the 2002 season. He finished with an overall record of 161–106–6.[20][25]

Holland era (2008–2011)[edit]

In 2008, the Bronchos hired Tracy Holland as their head coach. In his first year as head coach the Bronchos had a 7–4 record and won the LSCs South Division Championship. However, the program's record declined every year under Holland. The decline in performance coincided with the NCAA's decision to place the Bronchos on three years probation for "lack of institutional control," starting in 2008 from infractions that occurred under Chuck Langston.[26] As a result of penalties, UCO's roster was reduced from 100 players to 90 players each season during the probation. In December 2011, Holland was fired as head coach after compiling a 15–29 record during his four seasons at the helm.[27] The following month, Nick Bobeck, a UCO alumnus and former fullback for the Bronchos, was hired to take the reins as head football coach at UCO.[28][29]

Bobeck era (2012–present)[edit]

With the Bronchos off probation from the NCAA, former UCO-fullback Nick Bobeck, took over as head coach in 2012. The 2012 campaign began with three straight losses before an upset win over top-ten ranked Washburn.[30] The Bronchos finished with a 2–8 record. The following season the Bronchos began 0–7 before winning two straight. However, they lost to Northeastern State in the President's Cup game to finish with their second straight 2–8 record. In the first game of the 2014 season, the Bronchos won their 600th game. At the time this placed UCO as the fourth highest win total in Division II history.[31][32] During that season the Bronchos were as high as 22nd in the D2football.com rankings before finishing third in the MIAA with an 8–3 record and a Mineral Water Bowl appearance.[33][34] In 2015, the Bronchos, began slowly with an 0–4 record, but won seven out of their final eight games to finish with a 7–5 record and a victory over in-state rival Southwestern Oklahoma State in the Live United Texarkana Bowl.[35][36] In 2016 UCO finished with a 3–8 record. In 2017, the Bronchos began the season 2-4 with all four losses by seven points or less. UCO finished the regular season with five straight victories and a 7-4 record, and a tie for fourth in the MIAA. The Bronchos went on to win the inaugural Corsicana Bowl over Tarleton State 38–31.

Current coaching staff[edit]

Name Position Seasons at
Central Oklahoma
Alma Mater
Nick Bobeck Head coach 7 Central Oklahoma (2003)
Russ Pickett Assistant Head Coach – Defensive Coordinator 7 Ouachita Baptist (2003)
Jason Smelser Linebackers 5 Southern Arkansas (1999)
Nick Graham Defensive Backs 3 Tulsa (2015)
Christian Hood Offensive Coordinator/QB 2 Central Oklahoma (2002)
Jarrail Jackson Wide Receivers 2 Oklahoma
Tyler Holland H-Backs and Special Teams 2 Central Oklahoma

Head coaches[edit]

The team has had 13 head coaches since organized football began in 1902. The Bronchos have played in more than 1,000 games in its 110 seasons. In those seasons, three coaches have led the Bronchos to postseason playoff appearances: Al Blevins, Gary Howard and, Chuck Langston. Bobeck has led the Bronchos to the Mineral Water Bowl. Seven coaches have won conference championships with the Bronchos: Charles W. Wantland, Claude Reeds, Dale E. Hamilton, Gene Smith, Blevins, Phil Ball, and Howard. Blevins, and Howard have also won national championships with the Bronchos. Howard is the all-time leader in games coached and years coached, while Blevins is the all-time leader in wins and winning percentage. Tracy Holland is by December 2014, in terms of winning percentage, the least successful coach the Bronchos have had as head coach.

Of the 13 Bronchos coaches, Reeds has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, albeit from his time as a player for the Oklahoma Sooners. The current coach is Nick Bobeck, who was hired in December 2011.[38]


From its inaugural season in 1902 until 1913, Central Oklahoma played as an independent program. In 1914, it joined the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference (later renamed the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference) in which the school won 22 conference championships before leaving to play as an NAIA independent in 1976. In 1988, it transferred to the Lone Star Conference in which it won two conference championships. Central Oklahoma later joined the MIAA in 2012, after playing as an independent for one season.


  • The following is a list of Central Oklahoma's 2 national championships.[5][6]

National championship seasons[edit]

Season Coach Selectors Record Bowl
1962 Al Blevins NAIA Playoffs 11–0 Won Camellia Bowl
1982 Gary Howard NAIA Playoffs 10–2 Won NAIA Championship
National Championships 2

Conference championship seasons[edit]

  • The following is a list of Central Oklahoma's 27 conference championships.[20][39]
Year Conference Coach Overall Record Conference Record
1914 Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference Charles W. Wantland 5–1
1915 9–0
1921 8–1
1923 7–1–1
1924 9–2
1929 Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference 6–1–2 6–0
1931 Claude Reeds 6–2–1 4–0–1
1932† 6–3–1 5–1
1934 7–2 5–0
1935† 7–2–1 4–1
1936 8–1 5–0
1937 6–2–2 4–0–1
1938 6–3 5–0
1939 5–3 5–0–1
1941 Dale E. Hamilton 6–2 6–0
1942 7–0 2–0
1948† 6–2 4–1
1949 7–2 5–0
1950† Gene Smith 7–3 4–1
1954† Dale E. Hamilton 6–2–1 4–1
1955† 8–1 4–1
1956† 7–2 4–1
1961 Al Blevins 9–1 6–0
1962 11–0 6–0
1972 Phil Ball 9–2 7–1
1998 Lone Star Conference Gary Howard 12–1 9–0
1999† 8–3 6–2
Total Conference Championships: 27 (5 OIC, 20 OCAC, 2 LSC)
† Denotes co-champions

Divisional championships[edit]

The Lone Star Conference was split into two divisions from the 1997 to the 2010 season with Central Oklahoma competing in the LSC North. Central Oklahoma has won or shared 5 divisional titles. Their last division title was in the 2008 season. The conference and division championships were separate rankings.

Season Division LSC Champion Division Wins Division Losses
1997† LSC North No 5 1
1998 Yes 7 0
2004† No 4 1
2007† No 3 2
2008 No 5 0
Division Championships 5
† Denotes co-champions


The Bronchos have played their home football games at Wantland Stadium, located on the north side of the UCO campus, since 1965. The current capacity is 10,000. As of the end of the 2016 season, their current record at home stands at 168–97–5, a 62.9 winning percentage.[40]


Northeastern State[edit]

Central Oklahoma and Northeastern State first played each other in 1912 and have since played in 77 contests with Central Oklahoma holding a 48–28–2 advantage. The two teams have combined for four NAIA national championships, and have played in two NCAA Division II conferences since 1997.[41] Beginning in 1998 the two programs have competed for the President's Cup. Central Oklahoma currently leads 11–9 in the trophy series.

All-time record vs. current MIAA teams[edit]

Official record (including any NCAA imposed vacates and forfeits) against all current MIAA opponents as of the end of week ten of the 2017 NCAA Division II football season:

Opponent Won Lost Tied Percentage Streak First Meeting
Central Missouri 1 4 0 .200 Won 1 2012
Emporia State 11 7 1 .605 Won 1 1928
Fort Hays State 7 4 0 .636 Lost 3 1955
Lindenwood 3 2 0 .600 Won 1 2011
Missouri Southern 4 2 0 .667 Won 4 2012
Missouri Western 2 6 0 .250 Lost 1 2005
Nebraska–Kearney 5 2 0 .714 Won 1 1979
Northeastern State 48 28 2 .628 Won 4 1912
Northwest Missouri State 2 8 0 .200 Lost 6 1984
Pittsburg State 4 10 1 .300 Lost 2 1915
Washburn 4 3 0 .571 Won 1 2011
Totals 92 68 4 .573

Postseason history[edit]

Central Oklahoma football teams have been invited to participate in 6 NAIA playoffs 4 NCAA Division II playoffs and 3 bowl games and have garnered a record of 12–9. Most recently, Central Oklahoma defeated the Tarleton State Texans in the Corsicana Bowl, 38–31, on December 2, 2017. Central Oklahoma's most recent playoff appearance was a 2003 Second round game against Texas A&M–Kingsville on November 29, 2003. They lost by a score of 49–6.

W/L Date PF Opponent PA Game
W December 1, 1962 20 College of Emporia 0 NAIA Semifinals
W December 8, 1962 28 Lenoir–Rhyne 13 Camellia Bowl
L November 25, 1972 0 East Texas State 54 NAIA Semifinals
W December 1, 1979 42 Kearney State 22 NAIA First Round
W December 8, 1979 28 Presbyterian 6 NAIA Semifinals
L December 15, 1979 14 Texas A&I 20 NAIA Championship
W December 4, 1982 61 Southern Colorado 20 NAIA First Round
W December 11, 1982 28 Northeastern State 17 NAIA Semifinals
W December 18, 1982 14 Mesa State 11 NAIA Championship
L December 3, 1983 13 Saginaw Valley State 14 NAIA First Round
L December 7, 1985 15 Henderson State 18 NAIA First Round
W November 23, 1996 23 Chadron State 21 NCAA Division II First Round
L November 30, 1996 7 UC Davis 26 NCAA Division II Second Round
W November 21, 1998 21 Chadron State 19 NCAA Division II First Round
L November 28, 1998 21 Texas A&M–Kingsville 24 NCAA Division II Second Round
L November 20, 1999 17 UC Davis 33 NCAA Division II First Round
W November 22, 2003 20 Mesa State 15 NCAA Division II First Round
L November 29, 2003 6 Texas A&M–Kingsville 49 NCAA Division II Second Round
L December 6, 2014 10 Sioux Falls 42 Mineral Water Bowl
W December 5, 2015 38 Southwestern Oklahoma St. 21 Live United Texarkana Bowl
W December 2, 2017 38 Tarleton State 31 Corsicana Bowl


Future conference opponent schedule[edit]

Since 2014, the MIAA plays an eleven game interlocking schedule with each team alternating annually between hosting and visiting their opponents.

2018 Schedule 2019 Schedule
at Pittsburg State Pittsburg State
Nebraska–Kearney at Nebraska–Kearney
at Lindenwood Lindenwood
Northwest Missouri State at Northwest Missouri State
at Fort Hays State Fort Hays State
Central Missouri at Central Missouri
at Missouri Western Missouri Western
Washburn vs Washburn
at Missouri Southern Missouri Southern
at Northeastern State Northeasern State
Emporia State at Emporia State

See also[edit]


  1. ^ UCO Branding Graphic Standard (PDF). January 1, 2015. Retrieved March 23, 2016. 
  2. ^ DeLassus, David (2013). "Central Oklahoma Home". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  3. ^ DeLassus, David (2013). "Central Oklahoma Total National Championships". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c DeLassus, David (2013). "Central Oklahoma Conference Championships". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b DeLassus, David (2012). "Central Oklahoma – 1962". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b DeLassus, David (2012). "Central Oklahoma – 1982". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Wantland Stadium". University of Central Oklahoma. 2012. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 
  8. ^ DeLassus, David (2013). "Central Oklahoma Yearly Results". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on July 5, 2015. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  9. ^ DeLassus, David (2013). "Lt. Boyd A. Hill Records by Year". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  10. ^ DeLassus, David (2013). "Fenis Bently Records by Year". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Central Oklahoma Bronchos". University of Central Oklahoma. 2018. Retrieved May 9, 2018. 
  12. ^ DeLassus, David (2013). "Central Oklahoma 1923". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  13. ^ DeLassus, David (2013). "Baylor 1924". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  14. ^ DeLassus, David (2013). "Central Oklahoma 1924". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Oklahoma Memorial Stadium – Owen Field". University of Oklahoma. 2013. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Wantland Hall". University of Central Oklahoma. 2013. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  17. ^ DeLassus, David (2013). "Central Oklahoma 1929". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  18. ^ DeLassus, David (2013). "Central Oklahoma – Claude E. Reeds". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Hamilton Field House". University of Central Oklahoma. 2013. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f g "2014 UCO Media Guide" (PDF). Mike Kirk. 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  21. ^ DeLassus, David (2015). "Phil Ball Records by Year". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved May 17, 2015. 
  22. ^ Bentley, Mac (February 12, 1987). "Looking Back On Oklahoma February 12". The Oklahoman newsok.com. Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  23. ^ "2013 Lone Star Conference Fall Sports Media Guide". Lone Star Conference. 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Howard Selected Top Coach". Tulsa World. November 19, 1997. Retrieved May 17, 2015. 
  25. ^ Colon, Bob (November 19, 2002). "UCO releases Howard Firing surprises coach". The Oklahoman. Retrieved May 17, 2015. 
  26. ^ "NCAA gives Central Oklahoma three years probation". USA Today. February 20, 2008. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Central Oklahoma fires football coach Tracy Holland". The Oklahoman. December 1, 2011. Retrieved July 25, 2012. 
  28. ^ Munn, Scott (January 4, 2012). "UCO football: Nick Bobeck ready to bring back success to Bronchos". The Oklahoman. Retrieved July 25, 2012. 
  29. ^ Harmon, Drew (January 4, 2012). "UCO grad, former player to head Broncho football team:". Edmond Sun. Retrieved July 25, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Washburn loses first game in upset". 22 September 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2017. 
  31. ^ "Central Oklahoma looking for win No. 600". Edmond Sun. September 2, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Central Oklahoma football: Quarterback Chas Stallard leads UCO to season-opening win over Fort Hays State". Newsok.com. 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Bronchos Move Up In D2football.com Poll". Retrieved 8 January 2017. 
  34. ^ "Excelsior Springs Mineral Water Bowl". Retrieved 8 January 2017. 
  35. ^ "State college football: UCO, Southwestern State renew rivalry in Live United Texarkana Bowl". 4 December 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2017. 
  36. ^ News9.com. "SWOSU, UCO To Meet In Texarkana Bowl". Retrieved 8 January 2017. 
  37. ^ "2018 Football Roster – University of Central Oklahoma Athletics". Retrieved July 31, 2018. 
  38. ^ Special to the Sun (December 1, 2011). "Holland out as UCO football coach". Edmond, OK: Edmond Sun. Retrieved November 4, 2013. 
  39. ^ DeLassus, David (2012). "Central Oklahoma Records by Year". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 
  40. ^ "Wantland Stadium". University of Central Oklahoma. 2012. Retrieved October 18, 2012. 
  41. ^ "Presidents Bet a Dozen Golf Balls on Game". Retrieved August 5, 2015. 
  42. ^ DeLassus, David (2015). "Central Oklahoma Yearly Results". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  43. ^ DeLassus, David (2015). "Central Oklahoma Yearly Results". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  44. ^ DeLassus, David (2015). "Central Oklahoma Yearly Results". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  45. ^ DeLassus, David (2015). "Central Oklahoma Yearly Results". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on January 18, 2015. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  46. ^ DeLassus, David (2015). "Central Oklahoma Yearly Results". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  47. ^ DeLassus, David (2015). "Central Oklahoma Yearly Results". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  48. ^ DeLassus, David (2015). "Central Oklahoma Yearly Results". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  49. ^ "Bronchos Take Live United Bowl". Bronchosports.com. December 5, 2015. Retrieved December 5, 2015. 

External links[edit]