Southern Utah Thunderbirds football

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Southern Utah Thunderbirds football
2016 Southern Utah Thunderbirds football team
Southern Utah Thunderbirds Script Logo.png
First season 1963
Athletic director Jason Butikofer
Head coach Demario Warren
1st season, 6–5 (.545)
Stadium Eccles Coliseum
Year built 1967
Seating capacity 8,500
Field surface Turf
Location Cedar City, Utah
Conference Big Sky
Past conferences Independent (1963–1968)
Rocky Mountain (1969–1985)
Western (1986–1992)
American West (1993–1995)
I-AA Independent (1996–2003)
Great West (2004–2011)
All-time record 236–298–10 (.443)
Conference titles 2
Colors Scarlet and White[1]

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[2] as a member of the Big Sky Conference. The Thunderbirds currently play their home games at Eccles Coliseum, located on the campus in Cedar City, Utah. Since 2016, Demario Warren has served as the Thunderbirds' head coach.[3]


Southern Utah fielded their inaugural team as part of the 1963 college football season and Bruce Osborne served as head coach.[4] Southern remained as an independent through the 1968 season when they became a charter member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC).[5] The Thunderbirds competed as a member of the RMAC from 1969 to 1985 and had an overall record of 86–73–3 (.540) during that time.[4] Following the 1985 season, Southern Utah made the move from the RMAC of the NAIA to the NCAA Division II Western Football Conference (WFC) for the 1986 season.[6] As part of the WFC from 1986 to 1992, the Thunderbirds had an overall record of 41–34–1 (.546) during that time.[4]

For the 1993 season, Southern Utah joined the American West Conference (AWC) as a charter member.[7] The move to the AWC also marked the move from Division II to NCAA Division I-AA for the program.[7] The AWC folded following the 1995 season with the Thunderbirds compiling an overall record of 9–23–1 (.288), and starting their tenure as an I-AA Independent for the 1996 season.[8] After competing eight years as an Independent, Southern Utah once again became a charter conference member, this time with the Great West Conference (GWC), beginning with the 2004 season.[9]

In November 2010, Southern Utah announced they will be joining the Big Sky Conference effective for the 2012 season[10]

Southern Utah boasted their best season in 2015, winning the outright Big Sky Conference championship, by beating Northern Arizona University 49-41 in Cedar City, UT. they had an 8-3 regular season, with losses to Utah State, South Dakota State, and Portland State, winning their other games by mostly massive deficits. With the victory and success, head coach Ed Lamb joined the Brigham Young University coaching staff and was replaced by Defensive Coordinator Demario Warren.[11]

Football classifications[edit]

Conference affiliations[edit]

FCS Playoffs results[edit]

The Thunderbirds have appeared in the FCS playoffs two times with an overall record of 0–2.

Year Round Opponent Result
2013 First Round Sam Houston State L 20–51
2015 First Round Sam Houston State L 39–42

Coaching history[edit]

Name Seasons Overall Overall %
Osborne, BruceBruce Osborne 1963–1964 9–6–1 .594
Reeske, BillBill Reeske 1965–1966 8–8 .500
Kingsford, TomTom Kingsford 1967–1977 49–53 .480
Bishop, JackJack Bishop 1978–1982 30–17–2 .633
Conrad, DonDon Conrad 1983–1985 14–14–1 .500
Bishop, JackJack Bishop 1986–1995 50–57–2 .468
Ellerson, RichRich Ellerson 1996 4–7 .364
Gregory, C. RayC. Ray Gregory 1997–2002 28–38 .424
Andersen, GaryGary Andersen 2003 4–7 .364
Meier, WesWes Meier 2004–2007 10–33 .233
Lamb, EdEd Lamb 2008–2015 45–47 .489
Demario Warren 2015-Present 0-0 0


  1. ^ "SUU Font & Color | Marketing Communications". Retrieved June 3, 2017. 
  2. ^ "NCAA Sports Sponsorship: Southern Utah University". NCAA. Retrieved October 4, 2011. 
  3. ^ "S. Utah has new football coach". Associated Press. December 20, 2007. Retrieved October 4, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Southern Utah Football Yearly Results" (PDF). University of Southern Utah. Retrieved October 4, 2011. 
  5. ^ "New conference formed". The Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. December 17, 1967. p. 2. Retrieved October 4, 2011. 
  6. ^ Blackwell, Dave (September 7, 1985). "WSU should handle SUSC". The Deseret News. p. 2B. 
  7. ^ a b "Southern Utah now part of American West". The Deseret News. July 16, 1993. p. D1. Retrieved October 4, 2011. 
  8. ^ Hamilton, Linda (August 15, 1996). "SUU likes what it sees in Mid-Con". The Deseret News. p. D3. Retrieved October 4, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Great West football conference announces formation". SUU Athletics. February 25, 2004. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Big Sky Conference expands". Associated Press. November 1, 2010. Retrieved October 4, 2011. 
  11. ^ "SUU football: T-Birds earn program's first Big Sky championship". Retrieved 2016-08-26. 

External links[edit]