1969 Wyoming Cowboys football team

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1969 Wyoming Cowboys football
Conference Western Athletic Conference
1969 record 6–4 (4–3 WAC)
Head coach Lloyd Eaton (8th season)
Home stadium War Memorial Stadium
← 1968
1970 →
1969 WAC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Arizona State $ 6 1 0     8 2 0
Utah 5 1 0     8 2 0
BYU 4 3 0     6 4 0
Wyoming 4 3 0     6 4 0
Arizona 3 3 0     3 7 0
UTEP 2 5 0     4 6 0
New Mexico 1 5 0     4 6 0
Colorado State 0 4 0     4 6 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1969 Wyoming Cowboys football team represented the University of Wyoming in the 1969 NCAA college football season. The Cowboys offense scored 242 points while the defense allowed 118 points. Led by head coach Lloyd Eaton, the Cowboys won six games in a season tainted by a racial controversy.

"Black 14" controversy[edit]

During the season, Coach Eaton dismissed 14 black Wyoming players from the team for planning to wear black armbands during a game against the Brigham Young University (BYU) Cougars. At a victory against BYU the previous year, players from the Cougars had subjected them to racial epithets.[1] A week before the upcoming game, the team's black members were reminded of the incident and also informed about the racial policies of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which owns and operates BYU, and which at that time excluded black people from the priesthood of the LDS Church) by Willie Black, leader of Wyoming's Black Student Alliance, and challenged them to do something about it.[1] The day before the game, the players approached coach Eaton to tell him that they were planning to wear black armbands during the game in protest; Eaton forbade it.[1] The players then arranged to meet with Eaton, intending to discuss with him the terms of their protest.[1][2] According to Joe Williams, a team co-captain before he was suspended from the team, "We wanted to see if we could wear black armbands in the game, or black socks, or black X's on our helmets. And if he had said no we had already agreed that we would be willing to protest with nothing but our black skins."[2]

Eaton took them to the bleachers in the old fieldhouse.[1] Eaton says he listened to their suggestions for ten minutes before deciding to fire them.[2] Williams gives a very different account: "He [Eaton] came in, sneered at us and yelled that we were off the squad. He said our very presence defied him. He said he has had some good Neeegro boys. Just like that."[2] Defensive end Tony McGee said that Eaton "said we could go to Grambling State or Morgan State ... We could go back to colored relief. If anyone said anything, he told us to shut up. We were really protesting policies we thought were racist. Maybe we should've been protesting there."[1] John Griffin, a flanker, corroborates McGee's memory.[1]

The names of the Black 14: Earl Lee, John Griffin, Willie Hysaw, Don Meadows, Ivie Moore, Tony Gibson, Jerry Berry, Joe Williams, Mel Hamilton, Jim Issac, Tony Magee, Ted Williams, Lionel Grimes, and Ron Hill. [3]

At San Jose State University, the team voted to wear multicolored armbands against Wyoming in support of the 14, and groups at other Western Athletic Conference schools demanded that Wyoming be dropped from their schedules.[4] At the time of the incident, the team was undefeated (4-0) and ranked 12th in the nation. Even though Wyoming beat BYU 40-7 and San Jose State (the next game) without the players, it would lose its last four games of 1969 and went 1-9 the next year, which prompted the school to fire Eaton.[5] Black athletes stayed away from the college athletic programs for the following decade.

The "Black 14" incident spurred the court case Williams v. Eaton, with the issue of free speech against the principle of separation of church and state. Litigation was lengthy for this case and ended on October 31, 1972.[6]


Date Opponent Site Result
September 20 at Arizona War Memorial StadiumLaramie, WY W 23–7  
September 27 at Air Force* Falcon StadiumColorado Springs, CO W 27–25  
October 4 Colorado State War Memorial Stadium • Laramie, WY (Rivalry) W 39–3  
October 11 UTEP War Memorial Stadium • Laramie, WY W 37–9  
October 18 BYU War Memorial Stadium • Laramie, WY W 40–7  
October 25 San Jose State* War Memorial Stadium • Laramie, WY W 16–7  
November 1 at Arizona State Sun Devil StadiumTempe, AZ L 14–30  
November 8 at Utah Rice StadiumSalt Lake City, UT L 10–34  
November 15 at New Mexico University StadiumAlbuquerque, NM L 12–24  
November 22 at Houston* Houston AstrodomeHouston, TX L 14–41  
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game.
  • Reference:[7]

1969 team players in the NFL[edit]

The following were selected in the 1970 NFL Draft.[8]

Player Position Round Overall NFL Team
Vic Washington Wide Receiver 4 87 San Francisco 49ers
Larry Nels Defensive Lineman 12 298 New York Giants
Joe Williams Back 12 309 Dallas Cowboys


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Henderson, John (November 8, 2009). "Spirit of the Black 14 In 1969, 14 black Wyoming football players were kicked off the team for wanting to protest BYU's racist taunts and a discriminatory policy of the Mormon Church by wearing black armbands in a game". The Denver Post. Retrieved 15 November 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Putnam, Pat (November 3, 1969). "No Defeats, Loads of Trouble". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  3. ^ "The Black 14: Race, Politics, Religion and Wyoming Football". WyoHistory.org. The Wyoming State Historical Society. Retrieved 2017-07-23. 
  4. ^ http://si.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1082992/2/index.htm
  5. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1129&dat=19820514&id=gdtaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=l20DAAAAIBAJ&pg=7143,3141541
  6. ^ "Introduction". The Black 14. University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center. Retrieved 2015-11-12. 
  7. ^ DeLassus, David. "Coaching Records Game-by-game: Lloyd W. Eaton, 1969". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  8. ^ "1970 NFL Draft". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 9, 2013.