When the Worland Warriors take the field this fall, they’ll do so with their sixth head coach in five seasons.
With Wade Sanford in 2011, Curt Mayer in 2012, Josh Garcia and Bryan Bailey co-coaching in 2013, Thor Ware in 2014 and Todd Weber in 2015, the Warriors’ head coaching post has seen more than its fair share of change.
Worland is the first Wyoming high school football program to face this problem in more than a quarter century. However, the Warriors certainly aren’t the first team to face this conundrum, and Worland has actually been through this already.
And other programs have had it worse.
The last program to go through what Worland is facing this season was Rocky Mountain, which went through a stretch of six coaches in its first six seasons as a program from 1983-88.
Two other programs — Sunrise in 1956-61 and Lander in 1922-27 — went through six head coaches in six years. And going through at least five coaches in five years has happened 13 other times.
Kemmerer was the only school to go through the five-coach carousel twice, once in 1942-46 and again in 1960-64. Worland will join that club this year; the Warrior program also went through five different head coaches between 1938 and 1942.
Most of the coaching changes listed here came early in programs’ existence. Lander’s six-in-six span came in its first six years as an established program, while Cody’s five-in-five span from 1921-25 was in the program’s first five years.
Of the situations listed below, University Prep’s is the least surprising: Prep used UW students as its head football coaches and changed those responsibilities annually. In fact, the six-in-five situation Prep faced came in the only five consecutive years in which Prep had an active football team.
An honorable mention goes to Meeteetse, which used five different men as head in a span of seven years from 1996-2002 in which the head coach was different each year: Steven Bailey in 1996, John Fernandez in 1997, Paul Blanford in 1998, Fernandez again in 1999, Curtis Cramp in 2000, Mark Hamilton in 2001, and Fernandez again in 2002.
Below, I’ve listed instances since 1920 where a Wyoming high school cycled through at least five head coaches in five consecutive years. The lists below do NOT include stretches like Meeteetse’s where the same person left and was hired back later, and it also does not include stretches where a coach was unknown.
Six years, six coaches
Rocky Mountain, 1983-88 (John Rogers, Mike Mees, Dave Beemer, Doug Higley, Mike Maughan, Ben Smith)
Sunrise, 1956-61 (Tony Balzan, Walter Koenig, Ted Nichols, Paul Muratore, Jim Mather, Jack Rafferty)
Lander, 1922-27 (Roy Larsen, Joe McDowell, Joseph McClure, George Armitage, Clyde Guschewsky, George Tucker)
Five years, six coaches
Worland, 2011-15 (Wade Sanford, Curt Mayer, Josh Garcia and Bryan Bailey, Thor Ware, Todd Weber)
University Prep, 1926-30 (George Bright, Eldon Boyd, Burton Clammer, Don Harkins and John Engstrom, Ray Thompson)
Five years, five coaches
Riverton, 1977-81 (Brent Engleright, Neil Mellilo, Ken Boatwright, Bob Miller, Leland Smith)
Manderson, 1971-75 (Gary Sutherland, Rick Case, Ken Keil, William Diercks, John Tate)
Greybull, 1968-72 (Jim Crawford, Skip Anderson, Ed Rohloff, Tom Bernatis, Earl Jensen)
Kemmerer, 1960-64 (Duane Workman, Herb Taylor, Jim Martin, Bill Marsh, Bob Tatum)
Cowley, 1954-58 (Therrill Averett, Grant Smith, Willard Hirschi, C.R. Vannoy, Ed Bunch)
St. Mary’s, 1947-51 (Walter Estes, Bill Quinlan, Brad Erzinger, Bill Hoskovec, Austin Jordan)
Superior, 1944-48 (Norman Mikkelson, Grant Rhiner, Norman Kirby, Dean Jackson, Tony Katana)
Kemmerer, 1942-46 (Jim Jiacoletti, Dean Pomeroy, James Burke, Charles Scott, Roland Caranci)
Worland, 1938-42 (LaVern Jung, Kenneth Boles, Ralph Cottrell, Ralph Crowton, Carl Dir)
Sundance, 1933-37 (K.W. Noddings, M.L. Rickerd, Walter Tracy, Woody Sampson, Frank Supon)
Cody, 1921-25 (Phillips, E.V. Harlow, O.P. Roberts, H.F. Grossman, Paul Sweitzer)
Laramie, 1920-24 (Ed Hitchcock, O.A. Libby, Orion Neff, S.M. Clark, Les Crawford)