School shopping — defined as a head coach leaving a position at one school to take a head coaching position at another school in the year after — used to be common practice in Wyoming high schools.
Not so much anymore.
Sometimes, coaches have come to — or left — Wyoming in a school shopping mode. But leaving the head coaching position at one Wyoming school for the head spot at another in-state school has become increasingly rare.
Certainly, other factors play into shifting coaching jobs, among them other career and family goals. But it is interesting to note how little it happens nowadays, especially when you consider how common it was 40 or 50 years ago.
Some of Wyoming’s most successful coaches switched one in-state head spot for another in successive years. John Deti Sr., John Deti Jr., John McDougall, Okie Blanchard, Dallas Hoff, Art Hill and Kay Fackrell all did so, and all of these men are on the list — the quite short list — of Wyoming coaches who have more than 100 victories in their careers.
This year, for the first time since Don Dinnel’s move from Rawlins to Evanston in 2005, we have a coach moving from one head coaching position to another, as Ted Holmstrom makes the move from head coach at Lyman to head coach at Laramie.
However, despite the technique’s fairly common use in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, it’s only been done 13 times by 11 coaches since 1980 and only three times since 1995 (John Cundall going from Gillette to Greybull in 2004, and Dinnel going from Mountain View to Rawlins in 2003 and from Rawlins to Evanston in 2005).
For comparison, the in-state switch was done 22 times in the 1940s, 12 times in the 1950s, 20 times in the 1960s and 14 times in the 1970s.
The 13 most recent coaches to swap head coaching positions in-state:
Don Dinnel, Rawlins to Evanston, 2005
John Cundall, Gillette to Greybull, 2004
Don Dinnel, Mountain View to Rawlins, 2003
Stephen Bailey, Ten Sleep to Meeteetse, 1995
John Scott, Kemmerer to Gillette, 1995
Rich Steege, Burns to Pinedale, 1994
Paul Colgate, Lander to Gillette, 1990
Gary Glenn, Riverton to Douglas, 1990
Craig Nelson, Lovell to Lyman, 1989
Dwayne Trembly, Seton (St. Mary’s) to Cheyenne East, 1989
Hunter Short, Meeteetse to Newcastle, 1988
Hunter Short, Douglas to Meeteetse, 1986
Jim Keen, Powell to Cheyenne East, 1982
The changes are a small but interesting footnote to Wyoming high school football. Many changes were not “up,” to bigger or more successful programs; in fact, a lot of changes were pulled off by coaches who wanted to move to smaller or less successful programs, where the pressure was not as intense. In many ways, these changes reflect the men more than the programs and tell more of a personal story than they tell a football story.