I always take note when I recognize a name for a new high school coach.

Generally, when I recognize a name of a new coach, it’s because I remember that coach as a player. That’s what happened a bunch this summer, with new coaches like Cody Bohlander, Clayton McSpadden and Eli Moody among others sparking memories of their playing days.

Those memories got me thinking — how many of Wyoming’s head football coaches graduated from a Wyoming high school? Or a Wyoming college?

So, as part of the Wyoming High School Football Preview Magazine, I asked every coach about their alma maters, both high school and college. And here’s what I found:

Of the 64 Wyoming high school football coaches entering the 2018 season, 34 went to Wyoming high schools, while 30 did not. Wyoming coaches also graduated from high schools in Montana (6), Colorado (4), Idaho and Nebraska (3 each), California, Utah and Washington (2 each) and Alaska, Arkansas, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas and the District of Columbia (1 each).

The only bordering state not to have at least one head coach in Wyoming is South Dakota.

In all, 27 different Wyoming high schools were represented on the alma mater list of Wyoming coaches. Nine coaches (Burlington’s Trent Aagard, Cheyenne Central’s Mike Apodaca, Cokeville’s Todd Dayton, Evanston’s Pat Fackrell, Farson’s Trip Applequist, Hulett’s Boz Backen, Lusk’s Ryan Nelson, Rawlins’ Clayton McSpadden and Snake River’s Jack Cobb) are the head coach at the high school from which they graduated. Similarly, Hanna’s Zack Scott is an alumnus of nearby and now closed Medicine Bow, while Thunder Basin coach Trent Pikula graduated from Gillette in the days before TBHS existed.

Eight high schools graduated more than one Wyoming high school coach; Cheyenne Central, Douglas, Hulett, Lander, Lovell, Lusk, Midwest and Chadron (Nebraska) each have two alumni as head football coaches in Wyoming. The city of Cheyenne leads all cities with three coaches from that city claiming alumni status from one of that city’s high schools.

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For college, the most popular undergraduate alma mater was the University of Wyoming, from which 19 Wyoming coaches graduated. Even so, 42 of the remaining 43 coaches went to out-of-state locales to finish their bachelor’s degrees.

Next was Black Hills State with eight alumni and Chadron State with four. After that, coaches graduated from Sioux Falls and Montana State (3 each), Colorado Mesa, Montana-Western, MSU-Billings and Weber State (2 each), and Arkansas, Augustana, Colorado State, CSU-Sacramento, Dakota Wesleyan, Dickinson State, Kansas State, MSU-Northern, Northern Michigan, South Dakota Mines, Southern Utah, Sterling (Kansas), Southwest Minnesota State, Tabor (Kansas), Texas, UNLV and Utah State (1 each). (Two coaches have not finished their undergraduate degrees.)


–patrick

Antoine Proctor will be the new head coach at NSI for 2018.

Proctor takes over for Anthony Simmons, who has been the Wolves’ head coach the past four years. NSI went 8-23 under Simmons, reaching the six-man playoffs for the first and only time as a program under him in 2015.

In a text to wyoming-football.com, Simmons said he has “a lot (of) other duties and obligations” and couldn’t fulfill the responsibilities of head coach.

Proctor played basketball at Sheridan College, Sacramento State and Montana State-Billings. He later played professionally in Slovakia and Iceland before moving back to Sheridan.

Proctor did not reply to a Facebook post or to text messages left Tuesday or to emails sent late last week to his posted address. This post will be updated when possible.

–patrick

Eleven Wyoming high school football coaches share something in common — they’re the winningest coaches at their schools.

That list could grow to 16 names by the time the 2018 season is complete.

Coaches at Newcastle, Rock River, Lyman, NSI and Kelly Walsh could move up to No. 1 on their school’s all-time coaching victories list if they get enough victories this season.

The coach closest to this milestone is Newcastle’s Matt Conzelman. He needs one victory to tie the Dogies’ current victories record-holder Erv Wentling, and two victories to break Wentling’s record of 48 victories with the program. Other coaches who could become their school’s leader in victories this season include:

Doug Spriggs, Rock River (2 to tie, 3 to break Terrance Reese’s record of 2)
Dale Anderson, Lyman (6 to tie, 7 to break Loren Huntsman’s record of 39)
Anthony Simmons, NSI (6 to tie, 7 to break Mike Gorzalka’s record of 14)
Jon Vance, Kelly Walsh (8 to tie, 9 to break Tom Staffileno’s record of 37)

The 11 coaches who are already their school’s winningest coach are Todd Dayton, Cokeville (315 wins); Steve Harshman, Natrona (190); Mark Bullington, Southeast (138); Ray Kumpula, Glenrock (127); David Trembly, Dubois (83); Larry Yeradi, Wright (80); Chad Goff, Cheyenne East (77); Andy Garland, Upton-Sundance (42 with co-op, 76 total at Upton/Upton-Sundance); Trip Applequist, Farson (35); Trent Pikula, Thunder Basin (5); and Dan Gallas, Cheyenne South (4).

–patrick

Saratoga will not play its varsity 11-man football schedule in 2018.

Saratoga activities director Greg Bartlett said Wednesday the program only expected 10 to 12 players to come out this fall, not enough for pursuing a full 11-man season.

With low participation, Bartlett said, “it’s tough to keep a season together.”

Instead, the Panthers will pursue a six-man sub-varsity schedule this season, scheduling as many games as possible against nearby junior varsity squads. Bartlett said he’s already got one game scheduled but would prefer five or six games. He said the team’s schedule should be mostly in place by the end of next week, but some games may be added later depending on how the schedule comes together.

Bartlett said the move is likely temporary.

“In about two to three years, we have some elementary boys coming into the middle school where there might be 20 boys per class,” Bartlett said.

The Panthers play in the Class 1A 11-man West Conference. The program also draws players from nearby Encampment.

Bartlett said about three seniors, a couple juniors, about four sophomores and three freshmen showed interest in playing this fall. He said more may join when the season starts, but the decision to forgo the varsity season had to be made based on the numbers of committed players, not on the number of maybes.

Logan Wright, who previously coached in Rock River and taught in Laramie, will be the Panthers’ new head coach this fall. Wright will also teach PE in Saratoga.

Wright previously was a six-man assistant at Rock River, as part of the middle-school program in 2013 and the high school in 2014 and 2015.

“I’m certainly going into it looking at like were a varsity team and we’re going to put our best foot forward every day,” Wright said via telephone on Wednesday. “Whether the games count or not doesn’t matter to me.”

Saratoga played in the Class 1A six-man East Conference for one season, in 2013. Otherwise, the Panthers have fielded a varsity 11-man program every year since moving up after a two-year stint of nine-man football in 1991. The program has played a varsity schedule every season since 1955.

–patrick

Ten Sleep is on the hunt for a new football coach.

Former coach Ross Hauptman has resigned after deciding to move to Gillette, he said to wyoming-football.com on Sunday. The Northern Wyoming Daily News reported his resignation from his teaching position in Ten Sleep in May.

Ten Sleep activities director Russ Budmayr did not immediately respond to an email inquiry about who would fill Hauptman’s spot.

Ten Sleep went 1-7 last year, Hauptman’s only year as head coach.

Other Wyoming schools with new head coaches, or with vacant head coaching spots, include Class 4A Cheyenne Central and Sheridan, Class 3A Green RiverLanderPowell and Rawlins, Class 2A Burns, GreybullLovellMoorcroft and Wheatland and Class 1A 11-man Big Horn. If you know of other coaching hirings or resignations statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Eli Moody, a Lovell native who played football at Wyoming, has been hired as the head football coach at Greybull.

Greybull AD Nolan Tracy verified Moody’s hiring in an email to wyoming-football.com on Thursday.

Moody graduated from Lovell in 2012; he first attended Rocky Mountain College before transferring to UW. He was a PE teacher at Stagecoach Elementary in Rock Springs this year.

Other Wyoming schools with new head coaches, or with vacant head coaching spots, include Class 4A Cheyenne Central and Sheridan, Class 3A Green RiverLanderPowell and Rawlins, Class 2A BurnsLovellMoorcroft and Wheatland and Class 1A 11-man Big Horn. If you know of other coaching hirings or resignations statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Clayton McSpadden will be the new football coach at Rawlins.

Rawlins AD Sandy Jebens confirmed via email to wyoming-football.com on Monday that McSpadden — a 2009 Rawlins High graduate — will be the program’s head coach. McSpadden’s hiring was confirmed by the Carbon County School District No. 1 board on Thursday.

McSpadden was also hired to teach PE at Rawlins High School, the board meeting agenda showed.

McSpadden was a Shrine Bowl selection for Rawlins and played football collegiately at Black Hills State.

He replaces Corey Wheeler, who resigned in May after four seasons as the Outlaws’ head coach. Rawlins finished 7-3 last season, its first winning season since 2000.

Other Wyoming schools with new head coaches, or with vacant head coaching spots, include Class 4A Cheyenne Central and Sheridan, Class 3A Green RiverLander and Powell, Class 2A Burns, Greybull, Lovell, Moorcroft and Wheatland and Class 1A 11-man Big Horn. If you know of other coaching hirings or resignations statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Cheyenne Central will hire Mike Apodaca — a Central alumnus who won a state title while coaching at Silver Creek High School in Colorado — to be its new head football coach.

The announcement was made on Twitter on Friday by Central AD Chad Whitworth.

As a coach, Apodaca has been with Silver Creek as its head coach the past 15 seasons. He led that program to seven playoff appearances, three title-game appearances and a 2012 Class 3A championship.

As a player, Apodaca helped the Indians win the 1988 Class 4A championship before playing at the University of Sioux Falls and the University of Wyoming.

He takes over for Drew Severn, who resigned at the end of last season after four seasons as Central’s head coach. Central went 10-28 those four years.

Other Wyoming schools with new head coaches, or with vacant head coaching spots, include Class 4A Sheridan, Class 3A Green RiverLanderPowell and Rawlins, Class 2A Burns, Greybull, Lovell, Moorcroft and Wheatland and Class 1A 11-man Big Horn. If you know of other coaching hirings or resignations statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Brad Morrison will be Burns’ new football coach, Burns AD Barry Ward announced on Twitter on Tuesday.

Morrison said via text message Tuesday that he was an assistant coach at Thermopolis from 2012-16, including a run as defensive coordinator from 2013-16. He also coached basketball and track in Thermopolis at various levels. Originally from Lamar, Colorado, Morrison said he took the Burns job in part to be closer to family, as well as to take an opportunity to become a head coach.

He replaces Marv Mirich, who was the head coach for seven seasons with the Broncs. Under Mirich, the Broncs went 21-37, qualifying for the Class 2A playoffs in 2011 and 2013. Burns went 1-7 last season.

Other Wyoming schools with new head coaches, or with vacant head coaching spots, include Class 4A Cheyenne Central and Sheridan, Class 3A Green RiverLanderPowell and Rawlins, Class 2A Greybull, Lovell, Moorcroft and Wheatland and Class 1A 11-man Big Horn. If you know of other coaching hirings or resignations statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Lovell line coach Jeny Gardner was approved Monday as the new head coach for the Bulldogs.

Lovell’s school board approved Gardner as the school’s new head coach during its meeting Monday night, AD Joe Koritnik said via email to wyoming-football.com.

Gardner has been the line coach at Lovell for the past three years, Koritnik said. She also teaches math at Lovell.

She replaces Doug Hazen, who resigned in November after nine years as head coach; he finished 62-26 and won the 2011 Class 2A title while coaching the Bulldogs. Lovell finished 4-5 last season, reaching the 2A playoffs but losing in the first round.

Based on records available at this site, Gardner is believed to be the first female head football coach in Wyoming.

Other Wyoming schools with new head coaches, or with vacant head coaching spots, include Class 4A Cheyenne Central and Sheridan, Class 3A Green RiverLanderPowell and Rawlins, Class 2A GreybullMoorcroft and Wheatland and Class 1A 11-man Big Horn. If you know of other coaching hirings or resignations statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

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