On Dec. 1, 1990, Ty Detmer and his teammates gathered pool-side at the Princess Kaiulani Hotel just hours prior to kickoff with Hawaii. Via satellite hookup with nation-al TV, Detmer and the BYU faithful waited patiently and listened as Downtown Athletic Club President C. Peter Lambos announced, “Ty Detmer, Ty Detmer of BYU,” — soon Ty was doused in the pool.

Detmer, a junior, became the first collegian from the Rockies to win the Heisman Trophy. Named in honor of John Heisman, the coveted 25-pound honor is awarded annu-ally to the outstanding college football player of the year since 1935.

A 28-21 upset over No. 1-ranked Miami in Provo vaulted Detmer to the forefront in the Heisman race his junior season. Combined with a massive public relations “neck-tie” campaign for Ty, the 6-0, 175, gunslinger from San Antonio, Texas, guided BYU to a Holiday Bowl berth that season and a 10-3 record with 41 touchdowns and 5,188 yards passing.

Detmer polled 1,482 points to beat out Notre Dame’s Raghib “Rocket” Ismail at 1,177 and finished first in all six regions. Detmer finished third in the Heisman ballot-ing in 1991.

“Winning the Heisman was a great honor,” said Detmer. “There have been a lot of great players, like my teammates and previous BYU quarterbacks, that contributed to it. They opened the door. It shows the strength of the program at BYU.”

Detmer’s portrait hangs alongside other recipients on the third floor of the DAC of New York City. A duplicate portrait of Detmer also hangs on display in the Cougar Room of Cougar Stadium.


1962Eldon Fortie10th
1966Virgil Carter11th
1974Gary Sheide8th
1976Gifford Nielsen6th
1979Marc Wilson3rd
1980Jim McMahon5th
1981Jim McMahon3rd
1983Steve Young2nd
1984Robbie Bosco3rd
1985Robbie Bosco3rd
1989Ty Detmer9th
1990Ty Detmer1st
1991Ty Detmer3rd