I began a BYU sports fan pet project. The goal was to decide which BYU player gets to stake their claim at being the all-time best to ever wear that number across all the sports, male and female.
As a disclaimer, I must admit that I am weaker in my knowledge of some sports. However, I tried to make adjustments for this knowledge deficit by researching and investigating individual accolades awarded to athletes in all sports with assigned numbers. If you feel injustice has occurred. I'm genuinely eager to listen to arguments via the comment section.
For all parts of the series, click here.
#6 Marc Wilson
Marc Wilson was BYU football's first consensus All-American. Wilson made a splash right away when he made his first start at the Y vs. Colorado State by throwing for 7 TDs -- a record that still stands today (Jim McMahon and Max Hall each matched the 7 TD mark in their careers).
Wilson went 22-4 in his career, finished 3rd in Heisman voting, and led the Cougars to an undefeated regular season in 1979 before losing by 1 point to Indiana in the Holiday Bowl.
Luke Staley is the finest running back in school history and was the 2001 Doak Walker Award winner. His Junior season is in the mix for best individual season for anyone at BYU.
Robbie Bosco magically led the Cougars to the 1984 National Championship, all while gutting it out on badly injured legs during the Holiday Bowl.
Curtis Brown was a consistent and tough running back. During his time with the Cougars, when they let Curtis take on a lot of carries, BYU would win. Finished his career with the all-time rushing yards record, which was later overtaken.
Forward Joe Richey was named an All-American in 1953. A vital member of the 1951 NIT Championship team.
#7 Glen Kozlowski
Glen Kozlowski was a dynamic threat as a wide out. He had a proclivity for impossible circus catches that always seemed to come just when the Cougars needed them. A member of the 1984 National Championship team.
John Walsh is another possibility here and has an interesting record to his name. Walsh has thrown for more yards in a single game (611) than anyone else to ever suit up at Quarterback U.
#8 Steve Young
Probably will be his forever. Only a few guys have numbers officially retired, and he's one of them.
#9 Jim McMahon
Another no doubter here. McMahon finished his BYU career with his name next to 70 entries in the NCAA record book.
Austin Collie also wore number 9. Collie is the finest wide receiver in school history, but he isn't the finest #9. Maybe he should've worn #10.
#10 Dane Iorg
Dane Iorg played 10 seasons in the big leagues and made the key play by driving in 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th during the 1985 World Series for the Kansas City Royals to force a game 7. Iorg was also heroic during the 1982 World Series when as a DH as he hit .529 including another game 7 forcing performance in game 6 when he had 2 doubles and a triple with the St. Louis Cardinals. Iorg won 2 World Series in his career.
Iorg was a star at BYU too. He was All-WAC twice and a 1971 First-team All-American outfielder.
Vance Law was named to an All-Star team in 1988. A gifted infielder, who later coached the Cougars baseball team for 13 seasons. He also played on the BYU basketball team for 3 seasons.
Keep an eye on Women's Volleyball middle blocker Amy Boswell who has a chance at claiming #10. The soon to be Junior has been named has an honorable mention All-American while being a key contributor on her team's way to achieving a NCAA runner-up performance.
#11 Kresimir Cosic
Cosic shares his number in the rafters of the Marriott Center with Roland Minson and on the other end of the court should one day divide the #11 with Erin Thorn.
Minson's heroics led the Cougars to the 1951 NIT Championship. He was named NIT tournament MVP, and team MVP. A 3-time All-Conference performer. Minson put off playing for the New York Knicks, who drafted him in the 1st round, to serve as an officer in the Navy during the Korean War.
Erin Thorn is one of the greatest guards in BYU basketball history. After leading the Cougars to a conference championship, she took the 11th seeded BYU team to the Sweet 16. A lethal outside shooter, Thorn has carved out a nice professional career.
Kresimir Cosic stood at 6'11" but had the offensive game of a point guard. His play was stylish and totally revolutionary in the early 1970s. He was 1st team All-WAC three times as well as a two time All-American. Cosic was drafted 3 times by NBA teams. He led his home nation of Yugoslavia to 2 Silvers and 1 Gold in the Summer Olympics. From 1967 to 1980, Cosic led Yugoslavia to a international competition medal EVERY year except 1972 Munich Olymipics.
Cosic was enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame - the only Cougar player to receive that honor. Not only is Cosic a BYU legend, he is an icon in his homeland as streets, a stadium, and even a city square in Zagreb bear his namesake.
Also of note, BYU Hockey player Jaxon Logan wore number 11 and it, too, is retired.
#12 Ryan Millar
Ryan Millar is a four-time All-American. He is one of five players to ever be named First-team All-American three times in men's volleyball. Winner of the 1999 NCAA National Championship and 2008 Gold Medal at the Beijing Olympics.
A trio of great QB's wore #12 in John Beck, Steve Sarkisian, and Gary Sheide, but the honor goes to Millar.
#13 Jonny Harline
Fans still picture Harline on his knees all alone in the Northwest corner of Rice-Eccles Stadium. When picturing the answered prayer, I think of the Harline standing up from his kneel, raising his arms jubilantly over his head, and the big #13 holding the football in his right hand. That's why he's BYU's #13.
Beyond making a famous catch, Harline was an excellent tight end, who to this day, John Beck still uses as a security blanket.
Andy Toolson was a sharp shooting guard who finished his career at BYU with a blistering 43.7% from downtown.
Keep an eye on Ben Patch, who returns from his mission and starts his sophomore campaign with the men's volleyball team this fall. His freshman season was enormous and resulted in Patch being named as a First-Team All-American. The outside hitter is a devastating weapon that puts the Cougars in the national championship mix just on merit of him being on the roster alone. I would wager that this list will be updated to reflect Patch as BYU's All-Time All-Sport #13 before it is all said and done.
#14 Ty Detmer
Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer is the winner here, but it isn't as much of a blowout as it may seem. Two other players have had their number retired who wore 14: Mel Hutchins and Gifford Nielsen.
Mel Hutchins won the 1951 NIT Championship, then went on to be the 2nd overall pick in the NBA draft and play 7 seasons, making the All-Star team in 5 of them and being named Rookie of the Year.
Gifford Nielsen is the first BYU QB to throw for 3,000 yards in a season. He was 6th in Heisman voting after his Junior year, but an early season knee injury his Senior year ended his career in Provo. He had 6 year NFL career with the Houston Oilers. He played on the BYU Hoops team for 2 seasons. He also gives a lot of talks nowadays that are worth a listen.
#15 Taylor Sander
Taylor Sander was a 4-time All-American, the 2014 AVCA National Player of the Year, 2-time MPSF Player of the Year and took his team to the Final Four in back-to-back seasons. An absolute punisher on his outside spikes.
Oli Keohohou is BYU Softball's greatest power hitter. Oli hit a career .432 with 59 homers and 153 RBIs on her way to being named an All-American 1st base 3 times.
Max Hall is the winningest QB is BYU Football history, going 32-7 as a starter over 3 seasons.
Mekeli Wesley is on the short list of 11 BYU hoopers who've been named Conference Player of the Year. Even more rare, Wesley was named MVP as he helped the Y win a conference tournament in 2001 - the last time the Cougars won a conference tournament.
Check back next week as the series continues!