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.


1962 Eldon Fortie 10th
1966 Virgil Carter 11th
1974 Gary Sheide 8th
1976 Gifford Nielsen 6th
1979 Marc Wilson 3rd
1980 Jim McMahon 5th
1981 Jim McMahon 3rd
1983 Steve Young 2nd
1984 Robbie Bosco 3rd
1985 Robbie Bosco 3rd
1989 Ty Detmer 9th
1990 Ty Detmer 1st
1991 Ty Detmer 3rd