Gillette coach Vic Wilkerson, one of the most successful coaches in state history, resigned on Friday.

Wilkerson confirmed his resignation via text on Monday with wyoming-football.com.

The change comes in the same year that the city of Gillette opens its second comprehensive high school, Thunder Basin.

In an interview for the Wyoming high school football preview magazine in late June, Wilkerson said most of last year’s returning varsity contributors had opted to play for Thunder Basin instead of Gillette.

At the time, Wilkerson said the Gillette program wouldn’t return any players who contributed to the Camels’ varsity a year ago. He anticipated only three seniors and about 10 juniors to come out this fall, and none of those players had varsity experience. That meant sophomores and freshmen — about 30 in each class — would have to make up the remaining holes at the varsity level.

“I have no returning varsity players at Campbell County High School,” Wilkerson said at the time.

Several coaches also left the Camels’ program to join the staff at Thunder Basin. Wilkerson did say five coaches were returning to Gillette, though, and two coaches had been hired in the offseason to complete the Camels’ staff.

Who will replace Wilkerson at Gillette is unclear. Wilkerson said he did not know if a new coach was in place yet; he is leaving the program outright and is not staying on as an assistant coach.

Wilkerson was 110-35 in his 13 seasons as head coach of Camels. He has more victories than any other Gillette coach in program history, and his 13-year tenure is the longest in program history.

Wilkerson led his teams to five double-digit victory seasons and to state championships in 2006 and 2008. The Camels also finished as state runners-up in 2012, 2014 and 2015. Gillette has reached the large-school playoff semifinals each of the past 12 seasons.

Gillette went 9-2 last season.

Wilkerson’s 110 victories is 22nd all-time in state history. Only five active coaches — Cokeville’s Todd Dayton, Natrona’s Steve Harshman, Sheridan’s Don Julian, Southeast’s Mark Bullington and Glenrock’s Ray Kumpula — have more in-state victories than Wilkerson.

Gillette, Thunder Basin and Laramie are the Class 4A schools to bring in new head coaches this offseason.

–patrick

Note: Updated 9:37 a.m. July 17, 2017, to indicate Laramie’s hiring of a new coach.

Ross Hauptman will be the new head football coach in Ten Sleep this fall.

Hauptman teaches fourth and fifth grades at Ten Sleep. Prior to coming to Ten Sleep, Hauptman taught and coached middle-school sports in Highwood, Montana.

Ten Sleep principal/activities director Russ Budmayr confirmed the hiring Wednesday via email to wyoming-football.com.

Hauptman takes over for Jake Zent, who resigned from the school in January. Zent went 22-30 in eight years with the Pioneers, as the head coach from 2007-12 and in 2016.

Ten Sleep was 1-7 last season.

LaramieThunder BasinJackson, WorlandKemmererTongue River and Snake River also have new coaches for next season. If you know of a program seeking a new coach, please comment below or email me: pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Bart Jernigan, the defensive coordinator for Kemmerer, has been hired as the Rangers’ new head coach.

Jernigan verified his hire via email to wyoming-football.com on Thursday.

“We have a great community and great kids,” Jernigan wrote. “I look forward to helping them grow into great young men and make a difference in their lives as well as the world around them.”

He replaces Jason Ferrarini, Kemmerer’s coach the last two seasons. Ferrarini resigned as head coach recently to join his family in a move to Denver, Ferrarini said via email.

Jernigan has been at Kemmerer the past two seasons as defensive coordinator. Prior to that, he spent six years at Layton (Utah) High as the JV head coach and the varsity special teams coordinator; he also spent two years as an assistant at Clearfield (Utah) High.

Kemmerer enters the 2017 season on a 36-game losing streak, the longest in state history. The Kemmerer program is the first 2A program to change coaches this offseason. Class 4A programs Laramie and Thunder Basin, 3A programs Worland and Jackson, 1A 11-man program Tongue River and 1A six-man program Snake River are also either seeking or have hired new head coaches.

–patrick

Worland head football coach Todd Weber has resigned after two seasons leading the Warriors.

Weber confirmed his resignation Wednesday via email with wyoming-football.com.

Weber came to Worland after working as an assistant at Douglas. In his two seasons with the Warriors, Weber went 5-11 — a 2-6 finish in 2015 and a 3-5 finish last year. Worland missed the playoffs both seasons.

A replacement has not yet been named.

Prior to hiring Weber, Worland went through a stretch of five different coaches in four years.

Worland joins Jackson as Class 3A West Conference schools searching for new head coaches. Laramie is also searching for a new head coach, while new coaches have been selected for vacancies at Thunder Basin, Tongue River and Snake River.

–patrick

Jack Cobb, an assistant coach with the Snake River football team for the past eight seasons, has been promoted to be the Rattlers’ head coach.

Cobb, whose hiring was approved in February, takes over for Michael Bates. Bates had led the program since its restart in 2009, and Cobb has been an assistant with the Rattlers each of those years.

Cobb, who was also Snake River’s boys basketball head coach in the 2013-14 season, runs a ranch near Savery.

He is the third new head coach to be hired in the state this offseason, joining Steve Hanson at Tongue River and Trent Pikula at Thunder Basin. Jackson is also looking for a new head coach after James Howell stepped down in December.

–patrick

The rosters are set for the Six-man Shootout all-star game between Wyoming’s best and Nebraska’s best small-school football players.

The game will be June 24 in Kaycee. Kaycee’s Lee Kremers will be the head coach, with Farson’s Trip Applequist, Midwest’s Ken Swieter and Kaycee’s Tony Rouse working as assistants.

The Wyoming roster includes:

BURLINGTON: Dallin Christiansen; Austin Nicholson.
DUBOIS: Brock Baker.
FARSON: Ryan Curtis; Thomas Rezzonico.
GUERNSEY-SUNRISE: Seth Frederick; Lucas Osmera; Cody Quynn.
HANNA: Jarrett Neimark.
HULETT: Bodhi Penning.
KAYCEE: Reed Stafford.
LINGLE: Garrett Cooper; Dallen Fleenor.
MEETEETSE: Dalton Abarr; Cole Burbank.
MIDWEST: Dustin Bogart; Nick Ray.
ROCK RIVER: Kolten Moss.

Nebraska’s roster includes Cody-Kilgore’s Cade Cody, Augie Galloway, Jared Schmit and Jayden Schmit; Deshler’s Jon Banks; Elwood’s Jake Gydesen; McPherson County’s Colby Crow; Riverside’s Ryan Langan and Noah Valasek; Silver Lake’s Skyler Ericson; South Platte’s Kyle Odenbaugh and Will Spencer; Spalding Academy’s Zach Diessner; St. Edward’s Brayden Olson, Keenan Rasmussen and Evan Roberts; and Walthill’s Grayden Hollowell and Tyler Lovejoy. Coaches will be Riverside’s Joe Imus (head coach), Spalding Academy’s Troy Kleffner, Cody-Kilgore’s Landon Miller and Silver Lake’s Duane Arntt.

The game is in its sixth year. Wyoming holds a 3-2 series lead, but Nebraska won last year’s game 59-32.

–patrick

Michael Bates, the only head coach Snake River football has known since its rebirth in 2009, is stepping down as the program’s leader.

Bates went 58-18 in his eight years as the Rattlers’ head coach. He led the team to back-to-back state titles and undefeated seasons in 2010 and 2011. In his eight years, his teams finished with a losing record only once — in 2009, his first year. At one point, his teams won 22 consecutive games.

Snake River also advanced to the title game in 2012. The Rattlers have made the playoffs in each of their eight seasons under Bates.

Bates, who also teaches history at Snake River, said he wants to continue coaching: “I would like to be as productive at another school if given the chance,” he said via email to wyoming-football.com this week.

He said his wife is finishing her degree in nursing this year while he is wrapping up his master’s degree.

“We want to move to a location where we can both utilize our skills,” he wrote.

Bates is the first coach in the state to step down this offseason.

–patrick

For the 2017 season, the Wyoming High School Activities Association will allow football teams to schedule their own nonconference games.

The WHSAA will continue to schedule conference games for programs statewide.

WHSAA Commissioner Ron Laird said via email the schools were struggling with the expanded travel created by the WHSAA schedules.

We have had more and more complaints about the non-conference travel each year,” Laird said. “We have been told that some of the schools would like to play a larger school’s lower level team instead of traveling across the state.”

Since 2001, the WHSAA has scheduled football games in Weeks 1-8 for all schools. Since 2006, schools in the 3A through 1A classifications could schedule their own Zero Week opponents; 4A schools could do the same from 2006-08.

The WHSAA’s takeover of scheduling in 2001 was tied to the group’s implementation of power ratings for playoff qualification. For the power ratings to work, and to give every team a full schedule of games, the WHSAA took over scheduling of games that year.

Power ratings were eliminated prior to the 2009 season. However, the WHSAA maintained control over scheduling, even though it had previously volunteered to give that responsibility back to the schools. WHSAA scheduling gave programs a full schedule of varsity opponents, but often at the cost of extended travel.

A 2014 evaluation by this site found teams across the state were traveling further to play in games that were not as competitive.

Laird said schools would have no restrictions on their nonconference scheduling. The statewide scheduling meeting will be Nov. 15-16 in Casper.

The 10-school Class 4A plays a round-robin schedule, and as such, the WHSAA will continue to create the entire 4A season schedule.

In 2017, Thunder Basin High School’s opening in Gillette as a Class 4A school will shift classifications and conference alignments for several schools. For football, Evanston will move to the 3A West and Big Horn will go to the 1A 11-man East. Lingle will also be eligible for the 1A six-man playoffs next season.

–patrick

Brandon Barba has been hired as Rock River’s new football coach.

Barba and Rock River principal Wade Fiscus verified the hiring via email this week to wyoming-football.com.

Barba, originally from Mesa, Arizona, has spent the last three years coaching at Verrado High School in Buckeye, Arizona, he said via email. His role at Verrado was as a coach for the freshman team, but he also coached varsity offensive line and varsity scout.

He said he has applied for a teaching job in Laramie and came to the area with his wife, who is pursing a doctorate at the University of Wyoming.

Dakota Anderson, a student in UW’s teaching program, will be Rock River’s assistant coach.

Barba replaces Terrance Reese, who resigned in July after leading the Longhorns during their first two seasons of varsity play.

Rock River went 1-6 in both 2014 and 2015.

–patrick

Curtis Cook, who has been an assistant coach the past five years at Guernsey-Sunrise, will be the Vikings’ head coach starting this fall.

Platte County School District No. 2 approved Cook’s hiring this week, Cook said via email to wyoming-football.com.

Cook will replace Chris Link, who resigned. Cook is also the technology coordinator for Guernsey’s school and has also been an assistant basketball coach for the Vikings.

–patrick

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