For first-year head coaches in Wyoming high school football, it’s not uncommon to see a coach find immediate success.

In all, 31 coaches in Wyoming high school football — including current Big Horn coach Kirk McLaughlin — started their coaching careers with an undefeated season (with at least four games in the season).

However, maintaining that success has been tricky.

Of the 31 coaches who went undefeated (four or more games) in their first season, 14 of them didn’t return to coach the next season. Of the remaining 17, six posted losing records the following season.

The only other coach to go undefeated his first two seasons as head coach (minimum four games per season) is Joseph Weller, who led Albin to a 5-0 season in 1942 and a 4-0 season in 1943. Those were Weller’s only two seasons as a head football coach in Wyoming.

That brings us to McLaughlin.

McLaughlin started his head coaching career in Wyoming with an 11-0 season in 2018 followed up by a 2019 campaign that, so far, is 10-0, with the Class 1A 11-man state championship game against Cokeville scheduled for Saturday in Laramie.

The 21 consecutive victories to start a head coaching career in Wyoming is a state record.

Prior to McLaughlin, the coach who started his Wyoming head coaching career with the most consecutive victories was Jim Rooks. Rooks led Jackson to a 9-0 season his first season in 1981 and then won his first six in 1982 before losing to Star Valley in the second-to-last game of the 1982 season — notching 15 straight victories before a loss.

Third on the list is Talbot Rudolph, who posted 11 consecutive victories to start his career in one of the most circuitous paths a coach has ever taken. He started his Wyoming career with a 7-0 season at Pine Bluffs in 1941, then went 1-0 in the only game I can find for Big Piney in 1942. I don’t know where he was in 1943… but in 1944, he was coaching again, this time at the Heart Mountain internment camp, where he went 3-1 (winning the first three games to extend his start to 11 consecutive victories).

Three other coaches posted 10 consecutive victories to start their Wyoming head coaching careers — Lou Maiben (10 straight at Byron in 1954 and 1955), Tony Rouse (10 straight at Kaycee in 2017) and Bill Sollars (10 straight at Shoshoni in 1959).

–patrick

A familiar person around Natrona County will be the new head football coach at Midwest.

Dean Kelly will lead the Oilers in 2019. Both Kelly and Midwest activities director Michael Gibson verified the hiring via email to wyoming-football.com on Monday.

Kelly teaches math at Midwest and was the head girls basketball coach the past two years. He was also an assistant coach with the Oilers’ football team the past two years.

Prior to moving to Midwest, Kelly was the principal at Natrona County High School in Casper. He was also previously the athletic director for the Natrona County School District and, before that, taught math at NCHS, starting in 1997.

He also previously taught and coached in Glenrock from 1992-97 and Stanton County High School in Kansas from 1989-92. He was an assistant football coach for nine years in that span, plus the two years at Midwest. He also coached basketball and track, with three years as the boys basketball head coach at Stanton County and four years as the girls basketball head coach at Glenrock.

He resigned as NC’s principal in 2014 after assuming the job before the start of the 2007-08 school year.

Kelly replaces Ken Swieter, who resigned after 12 years as Midwest’s head coach to become an assistant at Kelly Walsh. Gibson will join the coaching staff as an assistant coach, he said.

Other Wyoming high schools with new head coaches for 2019 include Kelly WalshGilletteRock SpringsEvanstonTorringtonGlenrockLovellBig PineyPinedaleWyoming IndianKayceeMeeteetse, NSI and Ten Sleep.

–patrick

Chad Lobdell will be the football coach for the six-man football team at NSI Academy near Sheridan this fall.

Lobdell confirmed his hiring, which happened last week, to wyoming-football.com on Wednesday.

A native of Buffalo, Lobdell works at the school as the admissions director. He was an assistant coach with the Wolves in both 2014 and 2015. He previously coached in Holbrook, Arizona, and has also coached wrestling and baseball at the high school level. He also works in Wyoming as a wrestling official.

Lobdell will replace Antoine Proctor, who coached the Wolves to a 3-4 record last season in the Class 1A six-man East Conference.

Other Wyoming high schools with new head coaches for 2019 include Kelly WalshGilletteRock SpringsEvanstonTorringtonGlenrockLovellBig PineyPinedale, Wyoming IndianKayceeMeeteetse and Ten Sleep. In addition, Midwest is seeking a new head coach. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Nate Reinhardt, a business and physical education teacher at Guernsey who has coached basketball and track for the Vikings, will be the new head football coach at Wyoming Indian.

Wyoming Indian activities director Keith Bauder verified Reinhardt’s hiring via email to wyoming-football.com on Tuesday.

Reinhardt has been the head boys basketball coach at Guernsey the past three seasons. He has also been the head track and field coach for the Vikings. He also previously coached football and basketball at a variety of levels at Kemmerer and at schools in Poplar and Highwood, Montana.

As it did last season, Wyoming Indian will play mostly a sub-varsity schedule in 2019. The Chiefs were 1-4 last year.

Reinhardt replaces Todd Ghormley, who was the Chiefs’ coach the past five seasons.

Other Wyoming high schools with new head coaches for 2019 include Kelly WalshGilletteRock SpringsEvanstonTorringtonGlenrockLovellBig PineyPinedale, Kaycee, Meeteetse and Ten Sleep. Schools looking for new head coaches include Midwest and NSI. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Updated 3:17 p.m. MDT Wednesday, June 26, to include more details Reinhardt’s coaching background.

Dave Largent, an assistant coach with the Kaycee football team last year, will be the Buckaroos’ new head football coach in 2019.

Kaycee activities director Jason Humble confirmed Largent’s hiring in an email to wyoming-football.com on Friday.

Largent is a rancher who lives near Kaycee. He replaces Tony Rouse, who was Kaycee’s coach for two seasons and led the Buckaroos to their third consecutive Class 1A six-man championship and a 10-0 season in 2017.

Kaycee went 5-4 last season and lost in the first round of the 1A six-man playoffs.

Other Wyoming high schools with new head coaches for 2019 include Kelly WalshGilletteRock SpringsEvanstonTorringtonGlenrockLovellBig PineyPinedale, Meeteetse and Ten Sleep. Schools looking for new head coaches include Wyoming IndianMidwest and NSI. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Zeb Hagen, who was Meeteetse’s head football coach more than a decade ago and its head boys basketball coach the past two seasons, has been named as the Longhorns’ newest head football coach.

Meeteetse Superintendent Shane Ogden confirmed Hagen’s hiring via email to Wyoming-football.com on Tuesday.

Hagen was the Meeteetse football team’s head coach from 2006 to 2008, when the Longhorns played in the Montana six-man league. In his first year of 2006, he helped lead Meeteetse to a spot in the six-man semifinals in Montana. He went a combined 15-13 in his three years as head coach.

In addition to coaching basketball, he has also recently been an assistant football coach with Meeteetse.

Hagen did not reply to an email late Tuesday. This post will be updated with new information when available.

Other schools looking for new head coaches include Wyoming Indian, Midwest and NSI. Other Wyoming high schools with new head coaches for 2019 include Kelly WalshGilletteRock Springs, Evanston, Torrington, Glenrock, Lovell, Big Piney, Pinedale and Ten Sleep. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Ken Swieter, who has been the head football coach at Midwest for the past 12 seasons, has resigned to become an assistant coach at Kelly Walsh, his alma mater.

Swieter, who graduated from KW in 1997, resigned from his spot on Friday. He will also take a new teaching job at Pineview Elementary in Casper.

Swieter said Monday to wyoming-football.com that he would miss Midwest and his players there, but “I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to go back and coach for my alma mater.”

KW will be led by first-year coach Aaron Makelky, who formerly led Class 2A Big Piney.

Swieter said one of his favorite memories was transitioning Midwest from 11-man to six-man; when he took over in 2007, the Oilers still fielded an 11-man team. In 2008, the Oilers played six-man games for the first time because they couldn’t field an 11-man team, playing other varsity squads who played six-man against the Oilers to help Midwest keep its program going. Sanctioned six-man football came one year later.

“Without that (2008 season), I’m not sure if Midwest would have had football,” Swieter said. “If we would have canceled that season, I’m not sure if we would have been able to get anyone out.”

Instead, in 2009, Midwest started its first sanctioned six-man season winning six consecutive games, eventually reaching the 1A six-man semifinals that season.

“The kids bought into the system, and when kids buy in, they’re going to work a lot harder,” he said.

Swieter finished a combined 58-51 in his 12 seasons in Midwest. The Oilers’ best finish came in 2013, when they finished as state runners-up. Prior to Swieter taking over in 2007, and aside from a non-varsity season in 2002, Midwest had not had a winning season since 1991.

Tentatively, Swieter is going to coach linebackers and coordinate special teams at KW, he said.

On Tuesday, Midwest activities director David Sunday said via email the job had been posted as open. He said the position would likely be filled quickly, “depending upon the candidates and the timeline of the district.”

Other schools looking for new head coaches include Wyoming Indian,Meeteetse and NSI. Other Wyoming high schools with new head coaches for 2019 include Kelly WalshGilletteRock Springs, Evanston, Torrington, Glenrock, Lovell, Big Piney, Pinedale and Ten Sleep. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Updated 9:24 p.m. Tuesday, June 11, to add comments from Midwest AD Sunday.

NSI Academy in Sheridan is on the search for a new football coach.

Former coach Antoine Proctor is no longer the coach and does not work at the school, he said via Facebook message to wyoming-football.com on Sunday.

Proctor was the Wolves’ coach in 2018. NSI went 3-4 last season in the Class 1A six-man East Conference.

An email sent Sunday to NSI activities director Molly Trocha seeking more information had not been answered by Tuesday afternoon.

Other schools looking for new head coaches include Wyoming Indian and Meeteetse. Other Wyoming high schools with new head coaches for 2019 include Kelly WalshGilletteRock Springs, Evanston, Torrington, Glenrock, Lovell, Big Piney, Pinedale and Ten Sleep. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Lusk graduate Taylen Arnett will be the new head football coach at Ten Sleep this fall.

Arnett’s hiring was confirmed by Ten Sleep activities director Sarah Novak in an email to wyoming-football.com last week and via text with Arnett earlier this week.

Arnett, who graduated from Lusk in 2012, takes over a six-man program that failed to field a football team in 2018 after only five boys in the school showed interest.

In the four seasons prior to last year’s cancelation, the Pioneers went a combined 4-26.

Ross Hauptman was Ten Sleep’s last coach; he coached the Pioneers for one season, in 2017.

Arnett works as a rancher in the Ten Sleep area.

Other Wyoming high schools with new head coaches for 2019 include Kelly WalshGilletteRock Springs, Evanston, Torrington, Glenrock, Lovell, Big Piney and Pinedale. Other schools looking for new head coaches include Wyoming Indian and Meeteetse. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Clay Cundall, an assistant coach for Pinedale, has been promoted to the program’s top spot.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported on Friday of Cundall’s hiring.

A 2011 graduate of Greybull High School, Cundall played linebacker at Chadron State.

Cundall is the son of former Gillette and Greybull coach John Cundall. In addition to coaching, he also teaches language arts at Pinedale Middle School. He replaces Mitch Espeland, who resigned in March.

The Wranglers finished 3-5 last season and failed to reach the Class 2A playoffs. Pinedale has had just two winning seasons since 2000.

Other Wyoming high schools with new head coaches for 2019 include Kelly WalshGilletteRock SpringsEvanstonTorringtonGlenrock, Lovell and Big Piney. Other schools looking for new head coaches include Wyoming Indian and Meeteetse. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

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