Southern Utah Thunderbirds football
|Southern Utah Thunderbirds football|
|Athletic director||Debbie Corum|
|Head coach||Demario Warren |
3rd season, 18–25 (.419)
|Field surface||Hellas Matrix Turf|
|Location||Cedar City, Utah|
|Conference||Big Sky Conference|
|Past conferences||Independent (1963–1968)|
Rocky Mountain (1969–1985)
Western Football (1986–1992)
American West (1993–1995)
Great West (2004–2011)
|All-time record||236–298–10 (.443)|
|Colors||Scarlet and White|
The Southern Utah Thunderbirds football (also referred to as the SUU Thunderbirds) program is a college football team that represents Southern Utah University (SUU). With a history dating back to 1963, SUU currently competes in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision as a member of the Big Sky Conference. The Thunderbirds play their home games on campus at Eccles Coliseum in Cedar City, Utah, and have been led by head coach Demario Warren since 2016.
Southern Utah fielded their inaugural team in 1963 with Bruce Osborne as head coach, remained an NAIA independent through 1968, then became a charter member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC). The Thunderbirds were members of the RMAC from 1969 to 1985, with an overall record of 86–73–3 (.540) during that time. After 1985, Southern Utah moved up to NCAA Division II and joined the Western Football Conference (WFC). While in the WFC from 1986 to 1992, the Thunderbirds' overall record was 41–34–1 (.546).
In 1993, Southern Utah moved up to Division I-AA and joined the American West Conference (AWC) as a charter member. The AWC folded after the 1995 season, and the Thunderbirds were 9–23–1 (.288) overall in those three years. They were an independent for eight years, then became a charter conference member again in 2004 with the Great West Conference (GWC).
The Thunderbirds won their first Big Sky championship in 2015, defeating Northern Arizona 49–41 in the regular season finale at Cedar City. They had an 8–3 regular season, with losses to Utah State, South Dakota State, and Portland State; their eight wins were by mostly large margins. With the success, head coach Ed Lamb joined the staff at Brigham Young in Provo and defensive coordinator Demario Warren was promoted.
In 2017, Southern Utah won their second Big Sky title, finishing the regular season at 9–2, with wins over four ranked (FCS) teams: Northern Iowa, Weber State, Eastern Washington, and NAU. The Thunderbirds earned the eighth seed in the FCS playoffs; Warren was the conference coach of the year and was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.
- Football classifications
- 1963–1985: National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
- 1986–1992: NCAA Division II
- 1993–present: NCAA Division I-AA/FCS
- Independent (1963–1968)
- Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (1969–1985)
- Western Football Conference (1986–1992)
- American West Conference (1993–1995)
- I-AA Independent (1996–2003)
- Great West Conference (2004–2011)
- Big Sky Conference (2012–present)
FCS Playoffs results
The Thunderbirds have appeared in the FCS playoffs three times with an overall record of 0–3.
|2013||First Round||Sam Houston State||L 20–51|
|2015||First Round||Sam Houston State||L 39–42|
|2017||Second Round||Weber State||L 13–30|
|C. Ray Gregory||1997–2002||28–38||.424|
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