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Update: Christensen named Utah's new offensive coordinator

Published: Friday, Dec. 20 2013 11:45 p.m. MST

Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen follows his team in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) (Nati Harnik, AP) Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen follows his team in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) (Nati Harnik, AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — Dave Christensen said he always dreamed of coaching in the league where he played his college ball and served as a graduate assistant. The former walk-on for the Washington Huskies is eager to make it a reality after becoming Utah’s new offensive coordinator on Friday.

“The opportunity to coach in the Pac-12 is something that I’ve always wanted to do,” said Christensen, who joins the Utes after spending the past five seasons as head coach at Wyoming.

The 2011 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year was relieved of his duties on Dec. 1 after compiling a 27-35 record. Prior to his tenure with the Cowboys, Christensen rose to prominence as the offensive coordinator at Missouri from 2001-08.

“I wanted to get back and be able to coach at the BCS level and coach BCS kids again and I think the University of Utah is a great opportunity for me to do those things,” Christensen said.

Head coach Bronco Mendenhall (right) of Brigham Young shakes hands with Wyoming coach Dave Christensen following their game at Edwards Stadium in Provo Saturday, October 23, 2010, 2010. BYU defeated the Cowboys, 25-20. Brian Nicholson, Deseret News (Submission date: 10/23/2010) (Brian Nicholson, Deseret News) Head coach Bronco Mendenhall (right) of Brigham Young shakes hands with Wyoming coach Dave Christensen following their game at Edwards Stadium in Provo Saturday, October 23, 2010, 2010. BYU defeated the Cowboys, 25-20. Brian Nicholson, Deseret News (Submission date: 10/23/2010) (Brian Nicholson, Deseret News)

There’s also a connection with Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. They worked on the Idaho State staff back in the early ‘90s.

“It’s really exciting. I’m excited for the opportunity to work with Kyle again. I have great respect for him and what he has done, his body of work in his coaching career,” Christensen said. “We have worked together and so the opportunity to come back and work with him is something that really excited me.”

Whittingham announced the hiring of Christensen in a prepared statement. Christensen replaces last year’s co-coordinators Dennis Erickson and Brian Johnson, who will remain on the staff as position coaches. Erickson will oversee the running backs and Johnson the quarterbacks. Christensen will coach the tight ends.

"As one of the pioneers of the spread offense, Dave Christensen is an innovative coach and was the architect of one of the top offenses in the country during his time at Missouri,” Whittingham said. “We feel fortunate he was available and interested in joining our program, and he will be a great fit with our staff. We want an explosive offense and that’s been a trademark of Dave’s throughout his career as an offensive coordinator.”

Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen follows his team in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. (Nati Harnik, AP) Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen follows his team in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. (Nati Harnik, AP)

Utah’s offense ranked 10th in the Pac-12 in 2013, averaging 396.6 yards per game. The Utes are coming off back-to-back 5-7 seasons, missing out on bowl games after a nine-year run of postseason play.

At Missouri, Christensen employed a no-huddle spread offense that led the Tigers to Big 12 Championship Game appearances in 2007 and 2008. During that time he was named National Offensive Coordinator of the Year by Rivals.com and was a runner-up for the Frank Broyles Award.

In 2007, Missouri averaged 490.3 yards of total offense and 39.9 points per game. The Tigers averaged 484.1 yards and 42.2 points the next season.

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New Utah offensive coordinator Dave Christensen

Wyoming coach Dave Christensen during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Texas, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010 in Austin, Texas. (Eric Gay, ASSOCIATED PRESS) Wyoming coach Dave Christensen during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Texas, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010 in Austin, Texas. (Eric Gay, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Born: Jan. 17, 1961

BA sociology, Western Washington ‘85

MS college instruction and sports science, Eastern Washington ‘88

Wife: Susie

Children: Katie, D.J., Emily

Coaching career

2009-13: Head coach, Wyoming (27-35)

2001-08: Offensive coordinator, Missouri

1997-2000: Offensive coordinator, Toledo

1992-96: Offensive line coach, Toledo

1990-91: OL/TE/RB coach, Idaho State

1988-89: Graduate assistant, Washington

Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen reacts on the sidelines while playing San Diego State in the third quarter during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011, in San Diego. (Gregory Bull, ASSOCIATED PRESS) Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen reacts on the sidelines while playing San Diego State in the third quarter during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011, in San Diego. (Gregory Bull, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Playing career

1980-82: Washington Huskies

Accolades

2011 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year

2007 Rivals.com Offensive Coordinator of the Year

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5 QUESTIONS

Check out Sunday’s Deseret News as new Utah offensive coordinator Dave Christensen answers more questions about his new job.

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