Finnerty takes helm as LCCC interim rodeo coach

Dean FinnertyCHEYENNE, Wyoming – Laramie County Community College is proud to announce that Dean Finnerty, the highly respected rodeo team assistant coach, has accepted the position of interim head coach, bringing his expertise and passion to continue building a tradition of success in the program.

Finnerty came to the team as an assistant coach in 2018. During his assistant coaching tenure, the Golden Eagles became enduring contenders in the Central Rocky Mountain Region and, alongside assistant coach Vickie Segelke, helped coach the men’s and women’s teams to third-place finishes in the region in the last two seasons. In the 2021-2022 season, Finnerty was named the Central Rocky Mountain Coach of the Year. 

“This is going to be fun,” Finnerty said. “I enjoy these young people so much. They accomplish things, listen well, work hard every day, and it will be remarkable to see where they go.”

Last season marked the first time in 37 years that LCCC had two student athletes finishing in the top 10 at the College National Finals Rodeo in consecutive years. Five Golden Eagles qualified for the June event Casper. Finnerty said he’ll prepare his team to perform at a top level in each competition, with sending athletes to finals as the ultimate test. 

“Each weekend means just as much as the next,” Finnerty said. “They’ve got to stay on the winning way.” 

With around two-thirds of the team returning, Finnerty said he’s optimistic about what the experienced athletes will bring to the season. Whether a rodeo athlete is returning to the team or new, he said the key to success is self-confidence. 

“It’s all about believing in themselves and knowing they can achieve whatever they want to,” Finnerty said. 

LCCC Athletics Director Mark Puev said the program is fortunate to have Finnerty take the helm, emphasizing his hope that the Golden Eagles continue their upward trajectory under his leadership.

“We are extremely happy with coach Finnerty taking the position as interim head coach of the rodeo team,” Puev said. “His experience here as an assistant coach helps us with the quick transition so we don’t lose any momentum that we have built to this point.”

Finnerty, 57, lives on the same family ranch he grew up on south of Wheatland, raising about 200 head of cattle. Watching both of his parents rodeo, Finnerty entered the sport at an early age, eventually focusing on team roping, calf roping and steer wrestling. In 1984, he went to the University of Wyoming to join the wrestling program for two years before taking a year off and later heading to Chadron State College where he was a part of the rodeo team. Finnerty competed in rodeo professionally for many years, and still competes at Cheyenne Frontier Days in steer wrestling. 

LCCC will search for a permanent head coach beginning in the spring.