High school football coaching turnover the most in Utah since 2005

Published: Thursday, April 26 2012 12:06 a.m. MDT

As Timpview's Louis Wong and Cottonwood's Josh Lyman wait for the legal processes to run their course to find out whether or not they'll be coaching football this fall, the other 100 schools in the state officially have head coaches.

Spanish Fork hired Kirk Chambers and Parowan hired Brigham Nielsen on Tuesday to fill the last head football coaching vacancies in the Utah. They're the 23rd and 24th new coaches hired this offseason, a list that doesn't include Scott Gorringe who is starting the football program at Summit Academy (1A) in Bluffdale.

Sixteen high schools were under the direction of new coaches last year, but this year's turnover rate of 24 is the most since 2005 when 24 schools had new coaches.

Last Friday, Joel Higginson joined the head coaching fraternity as he was named Salem Hills' new coach after a four-month coaching search.

"We wanted to make sure we had the right fit," said Salem Hills assistant principal Troy Bohling. "I think Joel just brings energy, enthusiasm, knowledge of the game, and the ability to draw kids. That's one of the big things, he has the ability to draw kids."

Higginson, who graduated from Spanish Fork in 1997, is taking over a program that went 2-8 last year. Nielsen, a 2006 graduate of Highland, has an even bigger task ahead of him following Parowan's 0-9 season.

Chambers has a much easier job ahead of him in taking over a Spanish Fork program that advanced to the 3A semifinals. Chambers was playing in the NFL as recently as last year, but Spanish Fork will be the first coaching experience for the 1997 Provo High School graduate.

Prior to Spanish Fork, Salem Hills and Parowan hiring new coaches, North Sanpete finally filled one of the last vacancies in the state by hiring Matt Roberts last month. The defensive coordinator for Desert Hills the past couple years, Roberts is excited to be heading back to his alma mater.

"That's one of my big motives, I want to return the program to its glory. Coach Mark Wootton coached me when I was there, and he really built a program when I was there," said Roberts, who graduated in 1999. "Weight room is the key to that program. That's one thing coach Wootton did, he got us in the weight room, and it showed on the field."

North Sanpete finished 4-7 last year under coach Steve Coburn, who is now the head coach at Wasatch. Coburn is one of five head coaches who simply changed their zip code this offseason along with Clearfield's Will Hawes, Pleasant Grove's Les Hamilton, Union's Matt Labrum and Woods Cross' Justin Spencer.

Here's a complete look at the 24 new head football coaches, including their high school alma mater.

American Leadership, Bobby Kauo (McKinley, Hawaii)

Bonneville, Tyler Gladwell (Bonneville)

Clearfield, Will Hawes (Locke, Calif.)

Cyprus, Scott Wooldridge (Nampa, Idaho)

Desert Hills, Carl Franke (Minisink Valley, N.Y.)

Enterprise, Malin Williams (Enterprise)

Hunter, Scott Henderson (Cedar)

Layton Christian, Kitt Rawlings (Woods Cross)

Murray, Mike Richmond (Reedley, Calif.)

North Sanpete, Matt Roberts (North Sanpete)

Parowan, Brigham Nielsen (Highland)

Pleasant Grove, Les Hamilton (Petaluma, Calif.)

Provo, Cody Mallory (Frankfort, Mich.)

Salem Hills, Joel Higginson (Spanish Fork)

Skyline, Steve Marlowe (Skyline)

Spanish Fork, Kirk Chambers (Provo)

Springville, Willy Child (Springville)

Summit Academy, Scott Gorringe (Brighton)

Taylorsville, Rod Wells (Bear River)

Uintah, Cody Reutzel (Cedar)

Union, Matt Labrum (Union)

Wasatch, Steve Coburn (Bonneville)

West, Keith Lopati (Highland)

Westlake, Gary Clark (Leilehua, Hawaii)

Woods Cross, Justin Spencer (West)

EMAIL: jedward@desnews.com

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