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Philip Vigil Announced as Colorado State University Pueblo’s New Head Football Coach

Release Date: December 23, 2022

Gena Alfonso

Director of Communications/PIO

Marketing, Communications, Community Relations

(719) 549-2284

Coach Vigil and family

Pueblo, Colorado. - Following a competitive search, Vice President for Athletics and Strategic Partnerships, Dr. Paul Plinske has announced that Philip Vigil from Western New Mexico University (WNMU) has accepted the new head coach position for CSU Pueblo Football.

"After a thorough interview process, we have found our new ThunderWolves head coach. I believe that Coach Vigil is well-positioned to carry on the proud and successful tradition of Pack football," Dr. Plinske said.

"Coach Vigil will build on our strong foundation by bringing a high level of energy, passion for people, and a belief in our mission of developing champions. With successful experiences at some of the best Division II schools in America, Coach Vigil is also focused on making a difference in the lives of his student athletes. Phil is a native of Arvada, Colorado, so he is very familiar with Colorado; he has the ability to expand the Pack football footprint while attracting high-caliber student-athletes to CSU Pueblo,” Dr. Plinske continued.


Coach Vigil arrives in Pueblo after serving as the head football coach for the Western New Mexico University Mustangs for two seasons. Under Vigil’s leadership, the Mustangs played their first winning season in the Lone Star Conference (LSC) since 1993. During his tenure, the football program earned 17 All-Conference Awards, the most for WMNU in LSC history. Following a 30-year championship drought, Vigil led the Mustangs to the Chile Bowl Championship title in 2022, beating rival Eastern New Mexico University, 38-24.

“We are excited to welcome Coach Vigil to the Pack,” President Timothy Mottet said. “Phil is a passionate educator who understands the work ethic, the families, and the long-term dreams of the students we serve at CSU Pueblo. He is a proven winner, highly organized, and an effective communicator, but most importantly, Phil has a vision for student-athlete success that extends well beyond the football field. I am confident that his leadership and proven track record will build upon the excellence of our football program and that the Pack will continue to be strong students, community members, and contenders in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.”

Coach Vigil comes from a strong coaching tree of Division II football powerhouses. He has a strong background in offensive play calling, pass game coaching and recruiting and growing talented student-athletes, many of whom earned All-Conference honors and set school records.

Members of the search committee included President Mottet, John Wristen, Dr. Paul Plinske, and Mannie Reinsch. “I believe Phil is a great fit for our program,” John Wristen said. “He knows how to develop athletes into successful players both on and off the field. His drive and passion for the game will carry on our tradition of developing champions in Pack football.” John Wristen, who served as the head coach of the ThunderWolves for 15 years, announced his retirement from coaching on December 13. Wristen has accepted a new position with CSU Pueblo as Athletics Development and External Relations Officer.

Vigil earned his undergraduate degree in sports management at Colorado Mesa University, where he was the starting quarterback for two seasons and also served as the co-offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. He holds a master’s degree in education from Northwest Missouri State. Vigil and his wife, Melanie, are proud parents of three children, Peyton, Ava, and Olivia.

“I’d like to express my gratitude to President Mottet and Dr. Plinske. My family and I are incredibly excited to return to Colorado,” Philip Vigil said. “I’m thankful for the time we had in Silver City and for the support of our friends and colleagues at Western New Mexico University. Melanie and I are looking forward to joining the Pack and becoming active members of the Pueblo community. Coach Wristen established a great program at CSU Pueblo. I’m honored to be named as the second coach in ThunderWolves’ history and I’m eager to get to work.”

A press conference is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 11 a.m. in the Occhiato Student Center Foyer. The public and media are invited to attend the formal announcement and Q&A with President Mottet, Dr. Plinske, Coach Wristen, and Coach Vigil. Coaches and players will be available for media interviews following the press conference.

The Pack’s 2023 season kicks-off against Midwestern State University at the ThunderBowl on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 6 p.m.

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