Michael Brandy, Deseret News
Keeping tabs on the staggering number of high school football coaching changes in Utah this offseason has been more difficult than trying to make sense of what to actually believe in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal.
Of the 101 high schools who played prep football last year, incredibly, 30 will have a new head coach when the 2012 season kicks off on Aug. 17. That doesn't include first-year program Summit Academy either, which begins play in Draper as a 1A school.
Of the 31 coaches, 23 are first-time head football coaches in Utah, with Cyprus' Scott Wooldridge and Ben Lomond's Bill Mierzejewski the only coaches with out-of-state head-coaching experience — both having spent time in Idaho.
The 31 new head coaches are 15 more than last season, and shatters the previous record of 25 new coaches back in 2000.
The 10-year average from 2002 to 2011 was 18 per year.
Among those new head coaches is Spanish Fork's Kirk Chambers, who was less than a year removed from playing in the NFL when he was hired. He knows all about the demands of being a head football coach, but is excited about the challenge.
"When it came down to it I really just wanted to get into coaching and teaching and a way to give back in a way that I know how," said Chambers. "Obviously I'm not here for the money. I love the game and I love working with the kids. I did a lot of soul searching and the situation was perfect."
Along with Chambers and Wooldridge, here's a look at the other 21 first-year coaches in Utah:
American Leadership's Bobby Kauo; Ben Lomond's Bill Mierzejewski; Bonneville's Tyler Gladwell; Cottonwood's Greg Crowshaw; Desert Hills' Carl Franke; Enterprise's Malin Williams; Layton Christian's Kitt Rawlings; Murray's Mike Richmond; North Sanpete's Matthew Roberts; Parowan's Brigham Nielsen; Provo's Cody Mallory; Salem Hills' Joel Higginson; Skyline's Steve Marlowe; Springville's Willy Child; Summit Academy's Scott Gorringe; Taylorsville's Rod Wells; Timpview's Cary Whittingham; Uintah's Cody Reutzel; West's Keith Lopati; Westlake's Gary Clark; and Whitehorse's Colin Jackson.
Eight of the new coaches have previously been a head coach in Utah, including five who are just changing zip codes from last year.
Les Hamilton moved from Hunter to Pleasant Grove, Justin Spencer made the jump from West to Woods Cross, Steve Coburn hopped from North Sanpete to Wasatch, Matt Labrum left Parowan to coach his alma mater Union, while Will Hawes shifted from Layton Christian to Clearfield.
Hunter's Scott Henderson, Duchesne's Jerry Cowan and Monument Valley's Jim Dandy are all jumping back in the head coaching saddle after a few years off.
Of the 102 high schools, only 32 are going on five-plus consecutive years with the same coach.
Despite what seems like a constant coaching carousel at some schools, there are still plenty of veterans you can count on seeing on the sidelines year after year after year.
Bountiful's Larry Wall is the new elder statesmen of the coaching ranks with the retirement of Skyline's Roger Dupaix last season. Wall is entering his 28th season as a head coach, all at Bountiful. His all-time record is 209-99.
Five other coaches have been at it 20-plus years — Cedar's Todd Peacock (26th year), Emery's Jim Jones (25th year), Juan Diego's John Colosimo (25th year), Dixie's Blaine Monkres (23rd year) and Mountain Crest's Mark Wootton (22nd year).
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