By Todd Romero, Altitude Sports
Glenn’s coaching style was patient; he was very much a player’s coach with a way about him that captivated both players and the media. He was a storyteller not with words of wizardry, but language that immediately made you feel at ease.
Glenn was “just one of the guys,” a guy and a coach that went on to compile a 200-134-1 record, becoming just one of 76 coaches in NCAA history to win 200 games. Win No. 200 came on November 7, 2015 against Southern Illinois while he was coaching South Dakota.
As a player, Glenn was a quarterback and wide receiver for South Dakota and was the team captain his senior year. That was a sign of what was to come. Joe Glenn was born to teach and coach.
He began his 28-year coaching career at his alma mater as the backfield coach. Glenn would rise through the ranks, stopping in Northern Arizona, Doane (Iowa) College, Montana and finally making Greeley his home. Glenn would be an assistant for two years from 1986 through 1988, and in 1989 took over as head coach and turned Northern Colorado into a Division II powerhouse.
Under Glenn’s guidance, the Bears went to the NCAA Division II playoffs seven of his 11 years. The culmination of his efforts came in 1996 and 1997 when the Bears won back-to-back national titles. The first came under the guidance of Tom Beck, a quarterback recruit from Grand Junction that Glenn had to have.
After winning his second title in as many years, Glenn coached two more seasons in Greeley, compiling a remarkable 98-35 record. In 2000 Glenn made the move to Division I-AA Montana. Glenn spent three years with the Grizzlies, going to back-to-back title games and winning in 2001. His record in three years at Montana was a sparkling 39-6. In 2000, Glenn won the prestigious Eddie Robinson award given to the best coach in Division I-AA football.
Following three titles in Division II and I–AA, Joe Glenn moved to Wyoming where he coached for six years and became the first coach to lead the ῾Pokes to a bowl game in 11 years. A 24-21 win over UCLA in the 2004 Las Vegas Bowl gave Wyoming its first bowl game victory in 38 years.
Glenn finished his spectacular coaching career at South Dakota where he helped rebuild the program and notched his 200th career win. He then called it a day and retired.
Joe Glenn, “just one of the guys,” now finds himself in the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, enshrined among the best of men and women.
Under Glenn’s guidance, the Bears went to the NCAA Division II playoffs seven of his 11 years.