MURRAY — Cottonwood High has a new head football coach — and a new principal.
Former Dixie State College head coach Greg Croshaw, who was the head coach at Mesa State Community College last year, will take over the football program, which is reeling from the resignation of head coach Josh Lyman and the death of offensive line coach Mike Gallegos.
Croshaw spent 24 years at Dixie State College, where he won 214 games and nine conference titles before college administrators fired him without warning, as the school transitioned to a four-year program and Division II football.
The man who hired Croshaw has only led the school for a few days. Alan Parrish was an assistant at Brighton High last year and planned to work as an assistant principal at the Canyons District's new high school when it opens.
Parrish replaces Mitch Nerdin, who'd been principal at Cottonwood for two years.
"There were just a number of issues," said Granite spokesman Ben Horsley, who declined to give specifics about the problems. "It was a combination of things that came together at the same time. Both he and the administration felt it would be best if he transferred from Cottonwood High School. And since there were no lateral positions open, he accepted an assistant principalship at Hunter High School. The next available principal's job that opens, it's expected that he will fill that."
Nerdin had been an assistant at Cottonwood before spending a year at Granger. He returned to lead the school and was popular among the faculty and community.
Horsley said district officials are hopeful Parrish has some similar connections to the Cottonwood community.
"He was excited about the challenge and the opportunity," said Horsley. "He's very familiar with the community and he has some relationships that he feels will be beneficial to him."
The other two assistant principals at Cottonwood remain unchanged, he said.
The decision to replace Nerdin meant a delay in replacing former head coach Josh Lyman, who resigned last month in the midst of a district investigation into his conduct involving female students. Lyman was cleared of any wrongdoing in an earlier criminal investigation, but his resignation ended the district's investigation without a resolution.
Horsley said the district is concerned about the amount of turmoil that has saturated the program beginning with the death of newly hired Teko Johnson two years ago. Lyman was interim coach for a year and was hired last year as the program's head coach. Then this spring, the investigation kept Lyman from even communicating with his team or teaching his classes, and on Saturday morning, offensive line coach Mike Gallegos was killed by an alleged drunken driver.
"It's been one thing after another for this poor Cottonwood program," said Horsley. "The death (of Gallegos) is just devastating, not just for his family, but for the entire program. There have no doubt been some very difficult challenges. But we think this new coach can lead them in the right direction, and we feel like they have the personalities and talent to have a successful year."
The Colts went 5-5 last season, but boast some of the state's most sought-after players. Senior quarterback Cooper Bateman just offered a verbal commitment to Alabama last month, and a number of other players will play Division I football.
Bateman will lead the team in a Sept. 7 game featured on ESPN, and expectations remain high for the team despite the turmoil.