Updated: September 19, 2013 at 7:18 pm
Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh was preparing to sit down at a Mountain West Conference meeting in late spring when he looked over and saw who would be sitting next to him:
Wyoming football coach Dave Christensen.
Yes, the same Christensen who called Air Force coach Troy Calhoun "flyboy" and "Howdy Doody" in an obscene fit of rage on a miserable October night in Laramie. Those are about the only words from Christensen's outburst we can print in this family newspaper.
"It was just the way it was lined up," Mueh said, smiling as he remembered the seating arrangement. "We didn't have to exchange words. He looked at me, and I looked at him, and we shook hands.
"He said, 'You know, I'm sorry. I just need to get past this. I'm looking forward to the season.'"
Mueh nodded in agreement after Christensen's apology.
"I didn't actually have to talk," he said. "The moment I shook his hand, it was all good."
On Saturday, Christensen will trot on the field at Falcon Stadium, 11 months after his tirade earned him a place of football infamy, largely due to the worldwide reach of youtube.com. He paid heavily, earning a one-game suspension, a $50,000 fine and the disapproval of moms everywhere.
Mueh believes Christensen has paid enough for his mistake. He hopes Air Force fans will join him in forgiving Wyoming's coach.
"I want them to be respectful," Mueh said. "I don't want them to focus on that incident. He's contrite. Come on, he's a class guy."
But Christensen is not what you would call a perky guy. He's a classic football coach, gruff and secretive with a perpetual snarl in his voice.
He talked this week, in a one-on-one phone interview, about his least favorite subject.
"I feel the same way as him," Christensen said, barking his words as he voiced his appreciation for Mueh's forgiving stance. "We're tired of it. We've done everything possible in apology. The only people interested in it are writers. We're preparing for a football game. That's where our focus is at."
With eight minutes left in a fierce struggle in the rain at Laramie, Air Force quarterback Connor Dietz's helmet was yanked off. As he trotted to the sideline, Dietz collapsed on the field. Air Force coaches insist he was actually hurt.
Wyoming coaches, including Christensen, had their doubts.
While Dietz was being examined, Calhoun devised a play for backup quarterback Kale Pearson, who sprinted 5 yards to the end zone. His touchdown lifted the Falcons to a 28-27 victory.
Christensen believed Calhoun had stretched the rules, and told him so immediately after the game ended. Boy, did Christensen ever tell him.
The incident created a tidal wave of outrage when the video was posted, but Christensen insists the circus has ended. He said he never hears about the incident from Wyoming fans or Air Force fans or any fans.
He only hears about that night and his choice of words when he talks with media types.
"It's behind me," he said. "We move on in life.
"I've learned my lesson. I've made my apologies, I've moved forward."
Christensen is known for his skills on the offensive side of the game, but he did sneak a few moments of defense into our conversation. His outburst happened, he said, "in the heat of the battle" and these outbursts "happen all the time."
Just not on video, he said.