At least 10 schools in a variety of sports will be up for moving classifications when the Wyoming High School Activities Association makes its changes for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years.

And in football, at least eight schools will have decisions, or changes, to make.

No sport with more than one classification will be unaffected by the changes, which will be discussed and voted on by the WHSAA’s board of directors this fall and, if approved, go into effect with the fall 2022 seasons.

Enrollment numbers for the latest round of reclassification were distributed to schools during the WHSAA’s quarterly district meetings across the state the past two weeks.

Wyoming high schools are reclassified for sports and activities every two years based on enrollment numbers, calculated as Average Daily Membership, or ADM. Those numbers for each school, as provided by the WHSAA, are below:

  1. Kelly Walsh, 1,996.17
  2. Natrona, 1,954.82
  3. Cheyenne East, 1,689.80
  4. Rock Springs, 1,615.71
  5. Cheyenne South, 1,454.89
  6. Cheyenne Central, 1,417.00
  7. Thunder Basin, 1,310.36
  8. Campbell County, 1,304.18
  9. Laramie, 1,171.84
  10. Sheridan, 1,142.88
  11. Star Valley, 906.08
  12. Jackson, 870.46
  13. Evanston, 831.24
  14. Riverton, 773.04
  15. Green River, 771.12
  16. Cody, 626.28
  17. Lander, 581.71
  18. Powell, 573.73
  19. Douglas, 490.33
  20. Rawlins, 471.01
  21. Worland, 393.03
  22. Buffalo, 360.68
  23. Pinedale, 354.27
  24. Torrington, 342.78
  25. Wheatland, 278.74
  26. Mountain View, 252.51
  27. Newcastle, 231.67
  28. Lyman, 230.29
  29. Lovell, 229.18
  30. Glenrock, 222.63
  31. Thermopolis, 220.73
  32. Moorcroft, 197.26
  33. Kemmerer, 192.82
  34. Burns, 192.61
  35. Tongue River, 192.40
  36. Wyoming Indian, 152.13
  37. Big Piney, 148.90
  38. Wright, 143.32
  39. Big Horn, 140.50
  40. Wind River, 140.48
  41. Greybull, 139.04
  42. Shoshoni, 129.81
  43. Pine Bluffs, 124.47
  44. Rocky Mountain, 123.14
  45. Sundance, 122.34
  46. Lingle, 97.76
  47. St. Stephens, 82.74
  48. Lusk, 81.43
  49. Southeast, 78.51
  50. Guernsey, 78.51
  51. Burlington, 78.13
  52. Saratoga, 77.08
  53. Upton, 75.48
  54. Riverside, 74.33
  55. Cokeville, 70.99
  56. Snake River, 65.69
  57. Hanna, 58.99
  58. Hulett, 53.25
  59. Midwest, 49.53
  60. Farson, 48.24
  61. Dubois, 44.81
  62. Meeteetse, 44.09
  63. Encampment, 40.28
  64. Kaycee, 39.29
  65. Ten Sleep, 33.98
  66. Arvada-Clearmont, 32.65
  67. Rock River, 28.96
  68. Glendo, 12.96
  69. Chugwater, 10.45

Each set of sports will see its own changes.

FOOTBALL (10-12-14-14-rest): Five programs — Big Piney, Wyoming Indian, Guernsey, Saratoga and Riverside — face new decisions, while three others face situations similar to what they have now.

Big Piney moves down from 2A to 1A nine-man, while Wyoming Indian moves from 1A nine-man to 2A. Both can remain in their current classification if they decide to opt up or down, respectively.

Meanwhile, Guernsey will be classified as a 1A nine-man school, while both Saratoga and Riverside will be classified into 1A six-man. Right now, Guernsey plays in six-man, while Saratoga and Riverside both play in nine-man. Guernsey would be the smallest 1A nine-man school, separated by less than one ADM student (78.51 to 78.13) from the largest six-man school, Burlington.

Three schools currently opting up or down will be in positions to continue those choices. Big Horn and Cokeville, both currently opting up to Class 2A, face the same decision for 2022 and 2023, with Big Horn classified in 1A nine-man and Cokeville in 1A six-man. Moorcroft, currently opting down to 1A nine-man from 2A, also faces the same decision in 2022 and 2023.

All opt-up and opt-down appeals are pending WHSAA board approval. Programs that opt down are usually ineligible for postseason play.

BASKETBALL, TRACK, VOLLEYBALL (16-16-16-rest): Six schools are scheduled to make moves in the traditional four-classification sports. Glenrock and Moorcroft are scheduled to move to Class 3A, with Burns and Kemmerer scheduled to drop to Class 2A to take their place. Also, Lingle jumps to Class 2A, while Riverside moves to Class 1A.

GOLF, WRESTLING, CROSS COUNTRY (12-16-rest): Star Valley will move to 4A, with Evanston moving to 3A.

SWIMMING (12-rest): Evanston is scheduled to switch to 3A. No program will replace Evanston in 4A as Star Valley, the school to jump Evanston, does not have a swimming program.

SOCCER (14-rest): Riverton and Green River are scheduled to swap, with Riverton moving to 4A and Green River to 3A.

ALL ONE-CLASS SPORTS: No scheduled changes.

All changes listed here are tentative and subject to WHSAA board approval. Tentative regional and conference alignments will be set prior to the first WHSAA board meeting on Sept. 28. Final approval of reclassification will come in November.

–patrick

Both Lingle and Torrington have forfeited their Week 1 football games, to Wind River and Douglas respectively.

Lingle forfeited its game to Wind River on Thursday; Torrington forfeited its game to Douglas on Friday morning.

Lingle activities director Mike Lashley, when reached by email by wyoming-football.com Thursday, declined to elaborate on the reasons for Lingle’s forfeit, saying only that the Doggers could not field a team this week.

A Torrington High School Facebook post on Friday said the forfeiture was due to “injuries and illness.” Torrington activities director Gabe Bartlett reiterated that in an email to wyoming-football.com on Friday, citing both factors as the reason for the forfeit.

“Just not enough students to safely play the game,” Bartlett wrote.

Also on Thursday, the Goshen County school board voted 5-4 to mandate masks in the schools. The school district website said 189 students were in COVID-19 quarantine across the district, and that 19 active cases of COVID-19 were present among students or staff.

The Goshen County school district spans Torrington, Lingle, Southeast and LaGrange schools. The district had 1,606 students in K-12 last fall, according to the Wyoming Department of Education’s annual enrollment count.

The third of three Goshen County football teams, Southeast, will play its scheduled game today at Shoshoni, the Torrington Telegram’s Andrew Towne reported on Twitter. Lingle and Southeast are both Class 1A nine-man programs, while Torrington competes in Class 2A.

In all, five Wyoming high school football games have now ended in either forfeiture or cancellation. Burns and Thermopolis lost their Week 1 games due to COVID-19, while St. Stephens cited injury and eligibility issues in a Wednesday school Facebook post as its reason for forgoing its Friday game against Lusk.

Note: This story was updated at 11:04 a.m. MDT Friday with comments from Bartlett. This story will be updated as necessary when, or if, new information becomes available.

–patrick

Burns has forfeited its Week 1 game against Mitchell, Neb., after COVID-19 quarantines left Burns unable to play.

Burns High activities director Barry Ward announced the forfeiture on Twitter.

In an email Wednesday with wyoming-football.com, Ward said the exact number of Burns students in quarantine would not be finalized until contact tracing was complete. However, in-person school and sports practice will continue at Burns.

Ward said a decision on Burns’ Week 2 game against Tongue River, the Class 2A East Conference opener for both teams, “will be made when the contact tracing picture becomes clearer.”

Burns was the second team in two days to lose a game due to COVID-19, as Thermopolis canceled its Week 1 game and rescheduled its Week 2 game on Tuesday after moving to online classes for two weeks.

The Broncs also canceled a game and rescheduled another last year due to COVID-19. Burns lost its season opener to Yuma, Colo., last week.

–patrick

Thermopolis will close its schools for at least two weeks and move to online learning immediately, the district’s superintendent announced Tuesday.

Thermopolis will also have two football games “impacted” by the temporary closure — one canceled, one rescheduled.

A Facebook post on the Thermopolis Sports page said the next two weeks of sporting events would be impacted for all sports at the school, including football, volleyball, cross country and golf.

Thermopolis’ football team was scheduled to play Tongue River this week and Big Piney next week. Both games were scheduled as road games for the Bobcats.

In an email with wyoming-football.com on Tuesday, Thermopolis activities director Brandon Deromedi said the Tongue River game would be canceled, while the Big Piney game would be made up at 2 p.m. Oct. 19 in Big Piney. The Big Piney game is a Class 2A West Conference game.

The Wind River Radio Network/WyoToday.com posted a letter from Dustin Hunt, the superintendent of Hot Springs County School District No. 1. In the letter, Hunt said the rise in COVID-19 infections in both Thermopolis and across Wyoming led to the decision.

“It is disappointing to be in a digital instruction period this early in the school year, but unfortunately numbers of students and staff infected with COVID 19, or under quarantine orders has reached the threshold of needed separation,” Hunt wrote.

The Facebook post said at least 30% of Thermopolis’ students were out of school due to illness or “other reasons,” including quarantine. Deromedi said the 30% threshold for moving to online learning and teaching was a district policy.

“We have had some COVID cases,” Deromedi said, “but most students that are out are due to quarantining and proactive measures to stay healthy.”

Deromedi said sports teams will not practice during the next two weeks.

Hunt’s letter said Hot Springs County schools will not require vaccinations or the wearing of masks without a state order to do so.

Thermopolis is the first school in Wyoming this year to cancel games and adjust its schedule due to COVID-19 illnesses and quarantining. Burns, Douglas, Newcastle, St. Stephens and Wyoming Indian undertook similar measures last year, with St. Stephens and Wyoming Indian canceling all fall sports.

–patrick

Want to know how hard an officiating crew can work during the season? Look no further than where that crew sleeps.

Saratoga football coach Logan Wright watched with both surprise and admiration last fall when the Saratoga gym turned into a makeshift hotel for an officiating crew.

The group had officiated a game Friday afternoon in Farson and then a Friday night game in Saratoga. That crew slept in the Saratoga gym that night before officiating a Saturday game in Baggs.

Wright said he appreciates Wyoming’s football officials, especially those willing to sacrifice and do that. But the scenario puts in clear view one of the biggest problems with Wyoming officials — their small number. With a small number of new, young officials joining the ranks, officials are often put in tough situations like the one in Saratoga last year.

In interviews with Wyoming high school football coaches this summer, they all echoed respect and appreciation for what officials do. But the coaches also said the shortage of football officials in Wyoming has affected game times, budgets, the make-up of the crews themselves, and more.

Game times

By far, the biggest challenge schools faced was the variety of start times based on officials’ availability.

“Ideally we’d have every game Friday at 6,” Wright said. ” … It’s not our AD’s fault. You can only play once the refs can get there.”

Six-man programs usually take the brunt of the trickle-down problems, as officiating crews cover Class 4A and Class 3A games first.

“The official shortage has had a bigger impact on the smaller schools,” Burlington coach Travis Aagard said. “It requires tough start times, which makes it hard for the fans to make it to games. Officials are double booked for the day, and the second game is usually a bigger school so they do not want to be late to that game. If the game is lopsided it works out, but if it is a close game with hard calls down the stretch when they are already pressed for time it can be uncomfortable.”

Even with the shortage, Guernsey coach Curtis Cook said some officiating crews will turn down working the Vikings’ six-man games because of the amount of running. Cook said officials have said they can do half as much running in an 11-man game and get paid the same amount. Cook said when officiating crews have a choice between six-man and 11-man, crews choose 11-man — a choice afforded by those low numbers.

“It’s a real thing, and it’s affecting our schedule,” Cook said. “Those Friday night games have almost become a treat. Other (bigger) schools, they get it every week.”

Added Meeteetse coach Zeb Hagen, “We’re one of the few smaller schools that has lights, and we can never turn them on because everyone’s doing the big games on Friday night. … I hate it. I’d rather play on Friday night every week.”

It’s not just six-man; Big Piney coach Ryan Visser said the Big Piney-Lovell game, a Class 2A game, will be played at 2 p.m. in Lovell this season. Because of that, though, Big Piney will have to be on a bus heading north by 5:30 a.m.

With crews often doing back-to-back games, quality can suffer, coaches said.

“You can’t do those back-to-back games and be on the top of your game, so I do think there are some lasting effects in it,” Shoshoni coach Tony Truempler said.

When crews aren’t running from a six-man or nine-man game to a 3A or 4A game, they’re often working two games on the same field in the same day — and that, too, can take a toll.

“We often play a freshman game on Friday before the varsity and the same crew usually has to work each game,” Cody coach Matt McFadden said. “That is a long day for the crew, especially when you throw in travel.”

ADs and coaches all know about the scheduling chase.

Moorcroft coach Travis Santistevan said when schools received schedules, they couldn’t begin scheduling officials until 4 p.m. At exactly 4, the Moorcroft AD, Dusty Petz, starting making calls.

“We literally went through almost everybody and we still had a tough time filling our (officiating) schedules… and that was at like 4:15,” Santistevan said.

Budgets

Many coaches said they look out-of-state to fill gaps in their officiating schedule, pulling in crews from every neighboring state.

However, those crews typically cost more than a Wyoming crew.

For at least one recent game, Wind River had to bring in officials all the way from Fort Collins, Colorado, at a cost of “an arm and a leg,” Cougars’ coach Mykah Trujillo said. Trujillo said he was frustrated that the extra cost had to go to officials from another state more than 300 miles from Pavillion and couldn’t stay with the program somehow.

“It definitely affects our program, especially monetarily,” he said. “Instead of using that money for something else, we’re using it to pay officials to come in from Fort Collins.”

Several coaches in southwestern Wyoming noted pulling crews from Idaho or Utah to make up for the lack of Wyoming crews.

“We only have two sets of officials on this side of the state,” Cokeville coach Todd Dayton said. ” … Then we have to go into Idaho and get officials, so it’s a big problem. I really don’t see anything changing. I wish it would.”

Crew make-up

Coaches identified a couple issues with how crews are put together due to the shortage.

The biggest of those problems is using an understaffed crew to officiate, for example, using four officials instead of five.

Greybull coach Jeremy Pouska said that as an assistant at Riverside last year, “There were a few games where we were understaff for officials. … As much as we want the kids to play fair and honest, a lot can go unseen if we’re understaffed.”

Lander coach John Scott said the problem is severe enough that there’s a possibility that five-man crews in the future could include three officials and then an assistant coach from each team.

Lyman coach Dale Anderson said one problem he sees is that the same crews officiate the same teams over and over. He said having some variety would be nice not just for teams and coaches but for officials, too.

Added Douglas coach Jay Rhoades, “When we go and play around the state, you see a lot of the same guys.”

Several coaches noted this arrangement becomes even more problematic if a coaching staff doesn’t have a good rapport with one of those oft-seen crews.

At the same time, though, the familiarity between coaches and officials does have benefits.

“I’ve been in Kansas and officials don’t even talk to you there,” Dubois coach David Trembly said. “Here, you know them by name and you can talk to them and ask them questions, and I love that about our officials.”

Cheyenne Central coach Mike Apodaca pointed out that one of the problems is that younger officials are being forced to officiate at the varsity level sooner than they would have previously. That lack of depth means newer officials are facing more high-pressure situations, and sometimes officials with less experience struggle with those situations more — and are more likely to leave officiating because of it.

Burns coach Brad Morrison echoed several coaches when he said brought up another problem — older officials stay longer than they used to out of obligation to help with the shortage. However, several coaches said some of the older officials have trouble keeping up physically, which lessens the quality of the game.

Other concerns

WHSAA Associate Commissioner Trevor Wilson said via email last week that the biggest problem is recruiting young officials. He echoed the coaches in their concerns, with poor sportsmanship from coaches and spectators, pay, work obligations, inability to get good games quickly and a lack of training all concerns.

While other sports are struggling to recruit officials, the problem is more acute in football.

Wilson provided data from the Wyoming Sports Officials Association with the total number of officials in each sport. The number of certified football officials in Wyoming peaked in 2012 at 124. Last year, there were 85. However, the total number was more stable — 295 in 2012 to 261 last year.

Lander’s Scott officiates during the basketball season, and he said part of the problem is that basketball officials can work multiple games throughout the week and come close to making it a part-time job. That’s not the case in football, where there are fewer games and therefore fewer opportunities to make money.

Officials’ pay was a consistent theme among coaches. Several coaches noted that increased pay would bring out more officials.

“I’ve been a basketball ref before and it is not an easy gig,” Burlington’s Aagard said. “You start thinking, ‘They don’t pay me enough to put up with this,’ when everyone is critical of your calls.”

Rock Springs coach Mark Lenhardt, the football representative for the Wyoming Coaches Association, said finding former players to become officials is complicated by a variety of things unique to the fall — namely hunting season, fans of UW football wanting to attend games, and the opportunity to do other outdoor activities before winter encouraging would-be officials to do something else besides officiating with their weekends.

Appreciation for the officials

Despite any problems, coaches over and over said they appreciate officials and the work they do.

“Officiating is a sport within a sport,” Burns’ Morrison said. “There is skill involved. Anyone who has never put on stripes should shut up, and let the officials work. It’s a hard enough job without a bunch of 40-something, ex-JV football players screaming insults for an entire game.”

Rawlins coach Clayton McSpadden said coaches in particular need to show patience with new officials. They’re still learning to be officials, and coaches have to give them the opportunity to learn as well, he said. He said those involved can’t expect officials to get entire game right.

“If that’s the expectation, maybe we should stop coaching and go be officials,” he said.

People interested in becoming an official can fill out a short application with the National Federation of High Schools, of which the WHSAA is a part.

–patrick

Photo of Ned Turner posing in a starting position.
Edwin “Ned” Turner poses for a photo while at the University of Michigan in 1932. Turner, a graduate of Natrona County High School in Casper, ran in the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, placing fifth in the 800-meter run. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.

Exactly 89 years ago today, a Casper native took to the Olympic track at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and held his own with the best runners in the world.

Today, though, Ned Turner’s accomplishments are nearly forgotten.

Edwin T. “Ned” Turner finished fifth in the 800-meter run at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. He was one of the first, if not the first, Wyoming athletes to compete in the Olympics, a list that includes celebrated names like Rulon Gardner, John Godina, Lance Deal, Heather Moody, Jesseca Cross, Jennifer Nichols and a handful of others.

Turner was just 19 when he ran in the Olympics. A junior at the University of Michigan, Turner had made his mark with guts. A Casper Tribune-Herald article from 1952 noted that “Ned was not a sprint finisher, as are many middle distance runners, but he was noted for his strength, endurance, and untiring running ability.”

Ned Turner's yearbook photo
Edwin “Ned” Turner’s photo from the 1929 Natrona County High School yearbook.

Despite his world-class finish in the Olympics, Turner was never an NCAA champion at Michigan. Moreover, he was only once a Wyoming state track champion, winning the 440-yard run as a junior at Natrona in 1928. He had appendicitis as a senior and missed the entire track and field season while recovering.

But at Michigan, Turner grew and matured; after all, he was just 16 when he graduated from NCHS. He qualified for the Olympics by finishing third in the AAU championships, which doubled as the U.S. Olympic trials, in mid-July. Once at the Olympics, Turner finished third in his opening heat, good enough to make the final race.

The 800-meter final itself put Turner in a field that saw almost everyone, including Turner, run a time that was better than the gold-medal time from the 1928 Olympic 800-meter run. Great Britain’s Tommy Hampson ran a then-world record time of 1 minute, 49.7 seconds to win the race. Turner finished fifth in 1:52.5.

You can watch the race on YouTube here. Turner is wearing a white tank and white shorts and has dark hair, but it’s hard to make him out in the footage as that was the attire for several racers. See full race and heat results here.

Turner led a full, but short, life after his Olympic opportunity. He graduated from Michigan in 1933 and turned to business. In 1952, an article in the Casper Tribune-Herald described Turner as “a successful business executive” in Michigan. Turner worked in a variety of industries, including industrial machinery and paper, and lived in New York in addition to Michigan. Like many young men of his time, his career was interrupted during World War II, when he served in the Navy. Turner died Aug. 17, 1967, in Michigan, a month short of his 55th birthday.

As Wyomingites watch the Tokyo Summer Olympics this month, let’s make sure the name “Turner” stays in the conversation.

–patrick

After several months of preparation and research, I’m proud to announce the newest website to highlight Wyoming’s high school sports history.

Say hi to champlists.com.

The site is exactly what it says — lists of champions for Wyoming’s sanctioned high school sports. But it’s much more than that.

Each sport has its own special area: alpine skiing, cross country, golf, gymnastics, indoor track, Nordic skiing, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball and wrestling. While each sport has individual and team champions, several sports have more than that. For example, soccer and volleyball have all-state team listings and state championship history broken down by school; volleyball has listings for championship coaches; and other sports have listings unique to them.

In short, I’m bringing the wyoming-football.com and wyoming-basketball.com treatment to other high school sports in the Equality State. Although the research for other sports is not as deep or intricate as the research for football and basketball, champlists.com does help fill a gap in Wyoming’s high school sports history.

While the Wyoming High School Activities Association’s website with its sports archive has been incredibly useful, it has also been limited by a reduced range. The WHSAA website does not list champions or results prior to 1973, the year the WHSAA moved from Riverton to Casper, for any sports except football or basketball. WHSAA listings have long been incomplete for sports like cross country, golf, swimming, tennis, wrestling and track. Champlists.com tries to close that gap while at the same time make it easier for people to find specific names, records and details for each sport.

Despite all of my best efforts to this point, many sports have incomplete listings of their champions. Your help is invaluable to completing these lists. Please use this form to send me any missing information you have, as well as any documentation you have to support it, such as a newspaper clipping, yearbook listing or something similar.

In that same vein, champlists.com is a work in progress. If there is something else you’d like to see there, let me know; I’ll see if I can research it, or maybe if we can research it together. I’m going to look for ways to constantly expand the listings that are available to satiate your curiosity about Wyoming’s high school sports history. Broadly, I am planning on updating champlists.com once a year, likely in the summer.

Similarly, I will likely expand the scope of this blog to include occasional posts about other sports, as I have done the past few years with the occasional basketball or track and field post. I have several fun and interesting posts in the works already.

If you’ve made it this far, you care about this kind of stuff. So give champlists.com a look, and let me know what you’d like to see from it moving forward.

–patrick

The new head football coach at Riverside comes to the Rebels with six years of head coaching experience in Nebraska.

Jason Mitchell, who was previously a head coach at three different high schools in Nebraska and was a volunteer assistant at Burns last season, will be the Rebels’ new head coach.

Riverside Principal Matt Jensen verified Mitchell’s hire to wyoming-football.com on Friday. The Big Horn County School District No. 4 hired Mitchell as coach and as a middle school social studies teacher at Riverside at its meeting Thursday.

Mitchell said he was the head football coach at Valentine, Minatare and Lodgepole high schools in Nebraska. Valentine finished as Class C-1 runners-up in 2006 under him; he was head coach at Valentine for three years, Minatare two years and Lodgepole one year prior to its consolidation. Minatare and Lodgepole were eight-man programs while Mitchell was there. He was also the wide receivers coach for a year at Peru State College in Nebraska for a year.

In an interview with wyoming-football.com on Friday, Mitchell said he is looking forward to the teaching, coaching and mentoring opportunities he will have in Basin.

“When I saw that opening come up, I did a little bit of research, and I love the idea of coaching in a community small enough where you get to know the players beyond (the team),” he said.

Jensen also said he and Dale Query will join Riverside’s coaching staff as assistants.

Class 4A Laramie, Class 2A Glenrock and Class 1A nine-man GreybullLingle and St. Stephens have hired new head football coaches for 2021. If you know of other head coaching changes in the state, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

St. Stephens will have a new head coach for 2021 after the Eagles’ coach since 2017 resigned to take an athletic director position in Oregon.

Billy Brost, the Eagles’ head football coach since 2017 and also the school’s track coach, resigned Tuesday to become the athletic director at his alma mater, The Dalles High School, a Class 5A school in north-central Oregon.

Dee Harrison, who was Brost’s co-head coach in 2017 and who has been both the offensive and defensive coordinator for the Eagles since then, will be the new head coach for both the football and track teams at St. Stephens, Brost said.

“The administration feels good about moving forward with Dee, and so do I, because we built this together,” Brost said to wyoming-football.com Tuesday afternoon.

Brost and Harrison met with players Tuesday to inform them of the switch, Brost said.

Brost called his new position a “dream job” but also indicated that St. Stephens would only be a phone call away.

“I think they’re on the verge of doing something special,” Brost said. “St. Stephens will always be near and dear to my heart.”

Brost and Harrison took over coaching the Eagles’ football program together halfway through the 2017 season. Brost became head coach prior to 2018, with Harrison as the assistant.

Harrison previously coached throughout the West, including Eastern Oregon University. He was the head coach at Firth, Idaho, from 2009 to 2012, taking the Cougars from an 0-7 finish his first year to an 11-1 record and a Class 2A runner-up finish his final year. He was also a head coach at West Jefferson in Terreton, Idaho, for two years and was a junior high coach at Arapahoe, just down the road from St. Stephens.

“We’ve kind of been in this together, and we’ve kind of helped each other out for the whole four, five years we’ve been doing this,” Harrison said Tuesday. ” … It’s a just a matter of taking the reins and continuing to rebuild and hopefully building some more on it.”

The Eagles went 1-6 in both 2018 and 2019 in Class 1A six-man. St. Stephens did not play in its first year of Class 1A nine-man last year as the St. Stephens school was closed due to COVID-19.

Class 4A Laramie, Class 2A Glenrock and Class 1A nine-man Greybull and Lingle have hired new head football coaches for 2021, while Class 1A nine-man Riverside is looking for a new head coach. If you know of other head coaching changes in the state, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

This post was updated at 8:47 p.m. July 13 with comments and additional information from Harrison.

A coach with head coaching experience in Colorado will be the new football coach at Glenrock this season.

Paul Downing, previously the head coach at Coal Ridge High School in New Castle, Colorado, will take over the Herders’ head coaching role this season.

Glenrock High School Principal Mark Fritz said via email on Wednesday to wyoming-football.com that Downing had been hired to coach football and teach social studies in Glenrock. An email sent to Downing on Thursday morning was not immediately returned.

Downing was the head coach at Coal Ridge from 2018 through this season. Coal Ridge went 3-3 last season during Colorado’s spring football season, the program’s best record in his three years. Coal Ridge went 1-8 in both 2019 and 2018.

He was also head coach at Highland High School in Ault, Colorado, for the 2015 and 2016 seasons, going a combined 10-9. During 2017, Downing stepped away from coaching to battle Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

He also coached middle school football at Donelson Christian Academy in Tennessee for six years and was an assistant high school coach at Au Gres-Sims School in Michigan and at Kiowa (Colorado) High School for one year each.

Downing takes over for Ryan Collier, who was a combined 6-11 in two seasons as the Herders’ head coach. Collier resigned in May. Glenrock went 4-5 last season and did not qualify for the Class 2A playoffs.

Class 4A Laramie and Class 1A nine-man Greybull and Lingle have hired new head football coaches for 2021, while Class 1A nine-man Riverside is looking for a new head coach. If you know of other head coaching changes in the state, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

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