Christopher Smith

Wyoming Fires Coach Dave Christensen

Created on Dec. 01, 2013 8:53 PM EST

Wyoming fired coach Dave Christensen on Sunday following a 5-7 season.

"We have come to a point where our football program has not achieved at the level of success that we expect, and we know from past experience that we can be successful," athletic director Tom Burman said in a statement Sunday. "It is with that in mind that we move forward in search of a new leader for Cowboy Football."

The Cowboys started 4-2, including a three-point loss at then-No. 18 Nebraska to open the season, but lost five of six to close the season. The lone win took overtime against Hawaii (1-11), and Wyoming allowed an average of 48.3 points per game in that stretch.

Junior quarterback Brett Smith is 14th in the NCAA with 3,375 passing yards and the Cowboys averaged 5.1 yards per rush, but couldn't overcome one of the worst defenses in major-college football. Christensen fired defensive coordinator Chris Tormey at the end of October but ultimately was held responsible.

Wyoming was 27-34 overall under Christensen, including New Mexico Bowl appearances in 2009 and 2011, earning conference coach of the year honors in the latter, but Missouri coach Gary Pinkel's former offensive coordinator finished ahead of just three of 12 Mountain West Conference teams this season.

"Wyoming Football has been successful at many periods in our history," Burman said. "When you combine that great tradition with the investment we've made in developing outstanding football facilities that are among the best not only in our conference but in the West, we believe that we can achieve great success again."

The school will pay Christensen the base salary remaining on his contract, amounting to $570,000, ESPN reported.

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