I'm excited for the opportunity. It's a fast and rising program. Larry (Wilson) laid the really good groundwork for the program, and it was a job I was very interested in when I was in Hunter. It's a heck of an opportunity. —Dustin Pearce
By the standards set in 2012, in which 32 Utah high school teams were under the direction of new head football coaches, this past offseason has been a relatively quiet one.
When the 2013 high school football season kicks off Aug. 23, 18 schools will have a new head coach. That doesn't include first-year program Corner Canyon, either, which begins play in Draper as a 4A school.
Of the 19 coaches, 15 are first-time head coaches in Utah, while two others — Canyon View's Robby Robinson and Westlake's Steve Clements — have out-of-state head coaching experience.
Having 32 new coaches last year was a state record for offseason turnover, up from the previous record of 25 coaching changes prior to the 2000 season.
Among the new coaches this year is Herriman's Dustin Pearce.
The Hunter High graduate was Hunter's head coach from 2008 to 2010 before he was surprisingly terminated after a 19-15 combined record. He's been an assistant at Granger and Herriman since, and is excited to get back into the head coaching ranks.
"I'm excited for the opportunity. It's a fast and rising program. Larry (Wilson) laid the really good groundwork for the program, and it was a job I was very interested in when I was in Hunter. It's a heck of an opportunity," said Pearce.
Pearce is among the four coaches with previous head coaching experience in Utah.
Clements was Lehi's head coach from 1998 to 2001, compiling a 33-13 record and leading the Pioneers to a 3A state title in 2000.
Park City's Mike Shepherd previously coached at Park City, tallying a 53-28 record from 1998 to 2004.
As one 3AA coach said, Shepherd's return makes the Miners instantly better. "He's been gone long enough people forget who he is. When he got the job, I told my guys, 'Get ready for the fly sweep.' He practically invented it. He's a legend."
Layton Christian's Doyle Holt was Granger's head coach in 2009 and 2010.
Here's a look at the first-year head coaches in Utah:
Anthony Wilcox (Altamont), Chas Ryan (American Leadership), Aaron Dooley (Ben Lomond), Jantz Afuvai (Bonneville), Robby Robinson (Canyon View), John Teuscher (Copper Hills), Donald Eck (Corner Canyon), Russ Fowles (Delta), Matt Rickards (Kearns), Mike Mower (Lone Peak), Colton Johnson (North Sevier), Kent Taylor (Ogden), Marcus Matua (Snow Canyon), Matt Hammer (Weber) and Daniel Dupaix (West Jordan).
American Leadership, Ben Lomond, Bonneville and Layton Christian have a different head coach for the third-straight year.
Of the 103 high schools, only 37 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 elder statesmen of the coaching ranks for the second-straight year. Wall is entering his 29th season as a head coach, all at Bountiful. His all-time record is 218-102.
Don't expect Wall to hang it up anytime soon, either.
"I think just being around young kids, the enthusiasm, it's contagious," said Wall. "I think most the coaches played in their day, and there comes a time when you can't do that anymore and the next step is you coach. You love that electricity and enthusiasm from young kids. It really does your heart good."4 comments on this story
Five other coaches have been at it more than 20 years — Cedar's Todd Peacock (27th year), Emery's Jim Jones (26th year), Juan Diego's John Colosimo (26th year), Dixie's Blaine Monkres (24th year) and Mountain Crest's Mark Wootton (23rd year).
A handful of other coaches are on the doorstep of joining the 20-year club, certainly a rarity this day and age.
Bingham's Dave Peck is entering his 19th overall year as a head coach, while Hunter's Scott Henderson is beginning his 18th.