Laramie, Wyo. – Funeral services have been scheduled for former Wyoming head football coach Joe Tiller, who passed away Saturday morning September 30th at the age of 74 in Buffalo, Wyoming. There will be a viewing at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Buffalo, Wyoming on Tuesday, October 10th from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m. That will be followed by a rosary and time for guests to share memories of Coach Tiller. A funeral mass will be held on Wednesday, October 11th at 11:00 a.m., also at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Buffalo.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Joe Tiller’s name to the Cowboy Carousel Center in Buffalo, Wyoming, which is a project that Coach Tiller and his wife Arnette have been involved with for many years, and the Fabry Support & Information Group, to help Fabry patients with the cost of treatments. Tax-deductible donations may be made online through Harness Funeral Home in Buffalo, Wyo. or through the Harness Funeral Home, 351 N. Adams, Buffalo, WY 82834.
Tiller became the head coach at Wyoming in December 1990. It would be his first head-coaching position at the collegiate level. He would guide the Wyoming Cowboys through one of their most successful periods in school history from the 1991 through 1996 seasons. In his third season as head coach, Tiller’s Cowboys captured a share of the 1993 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championship and appeared in the Copper Bowl.
In 1996, Wyoming finished with a 10-2 record, had the nation’s longest winning streak and won the WAC Pacific Division, earning a spot in the inaugural WAC Championship Game. The Cowboys concluded the ’96 season ranked 22nd in the national polls, and reached a high ranking of No. 15 in the Coaches Poll that season. Tiller’s ’96 Cowboys also led the nation in passing offense and featured the Biletnikoff Award winner in Marcus Harris, who set the NCAA record for career receiving yards.
Tiller was named the WAC Coach of the Year in 1996 and was named the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Region Coach of the Year in 1993 and ’96. Tiller would conclude his time as head coach of the Cowboys with a 39-30-1 (.564) record in six seasons.
In 1997 Tiller became the head football coach at Purdue University where he compiled a 87-62 and is still the winningest coach in the school’s history.
Prior to becoming Wyoming’s head coach, Tiller had served as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator and offensive line coach for the 1987 and ‘88 seasons under then head coach Paul Roach. The ‘87 and ‘88 Cowboys won back-to-back WAC titles, went undefeated in conference play both seasons and earned consecutive trips to the Holiday Bowl. The 1987 Cowboys reached a high ranking of No. 21 during the season, while the ‘88 Cowboys were ranked as high as 10th and finished the season ranked 20th.