Southern Utah Thunderbirds football

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 play their home games on campus at Eccles Coliseum in Cedar City, Utah, and have been led by head coach Demario Warren since 2016.[3]

Southern Utah Thunderbirds football
2020 Southern Utah Thunderbirds football team
Southern Utah Thunderbirds Script Logo.png
First season1963
Athletic directorDebbie Corum
Head coachDemario Warren
3rd season, 18–25 (.419)
StadiumEccles Coliseum
(Capacity: 8,500)
Year built1967
Field surfaceHellas Matrix Turf
(since 2012)
LocationCedar City, Utah
ConferenceBig Sky Conference
Past conferencesIndependent (1963–1968)
Rocky Mountain (1969–1985)
Western Football (1986–1992)
American West (1993–1995)
Independent (1996–2003)
Great West (2004–2011)
All-time record236–298–10 (.443)
Conference titles4 (1993, 2010, 2015, 2017)
Division titles1 (1970)
ColorsScarlet and White[1]


Southern Utah fielded their inaugural team in 1963 with Bruce Osborne as head coach,[4] remained an NAIA independent through 1968, then became a charter member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC).[5] The Thunderbirds were members of the RMAC from 1969 to 1985, with an overall record of 86–73–3 (.540) during that time.[4] After 1985, Southern Utah moved up to NCAA Division II and joined the Western Football Conference (WFC).[6] While in the WFC from 1986 to 1992, the Thunderbirds' overall record was 41–34–1 (.546).[4]

In 1993, Southern Utah moved up to Division I-AA and joined the American West Conference (AWC) as a charter member.[7] 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,[8] then became a charter conference member again in 2004 with the Great West Conference (GWC).[9]

In November 2010, Southern Utah announced their admission to the Big Sky Conference, effective in 2012.[10]

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.[11]

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

Conference affiliationsEdit

FCS Playoffs resultsEdit

The Thunderbirds have appeared in the FCS playoffs three times with an overall record of 0–3.

Year Round Opponent Result
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

Head coachesEdit


Coach Tenure Record Pct
Bruce Osborne 1963–1964 9–6–1 .594
Bill Reeske 1965–1966 8–8 .500
Tom Kingsford 1967–1977 49–53 .480
Jack Bishop 1978–1982
80–74–4 .519
Don Conrad 1983–1985 14–14–1 .500
Rich Ellerson 1996 4–7 .364
C. Ray Gregory 1997–2002 28–38 .424
Gary Andersen 2003 4–7 .364
Wes Meier 2004–2007 10–33 .233
Ed Lamb 2008–2015 45–47 .489
Demario Warren 2016–present 18–25 .419


  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 "Southern Utah Football Yearly Results" (PDF). University of Southern Utah. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  5. ^ "New conference formed". The Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). 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. ^ "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.
  12. ^ "Southern Utah Thunderbirds Athletics" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-12-19.

External linksEdit