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Note: Parowan finished with an 0-9 overall record in 2011 and was last in the 2A South region with an 0-7 record. It did not qualify for the 2A playoffs.
PAROWAN — Brigham Nielsen is out to change the culture of Parowan’s football team.
He knows it won’t be easy after the Rams went 0-9 last year, but the 2006 Highland High graduate isn’t approaching the challenge solely from a win-loss mentality. He doesn’t believe success is only measured on the scoreboard.
“These kids need to start believing in themselves that they can be successful, and not just in football — but in life. That’s the main purpose of me being here. Through football, we’re going to try and teach them that,” said Nielsen. “There’s a lot of skills I learned through football — how to be successful in life, to be a leader, to be dependable, to find success and bring success to yourself through hard work.”
Nielsen did his student teaching at Parowan last fall, and when the head coaching job opened up with the departure of Matt Labrum to his alma mater at Union High, the recent Southern Utah graduate jumped at the chance.
“I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to try and get back out here. I love the kids and the community and administration here,” said Nielsen.
In addition to changing the attitude of his players, Nielsen’s also making bold changes to the offense. He’s abandoning the spread offense and going back to his roots by installing Highland High’s triple option.
It’s a drastic shift in philosophy, but for a team that only scored five offensive touchdowns last year and 50 total points, it’s probably a welcome change.
Parowan’s senior class was pretty small last year, and as a result the Rams have 13 starters returning who were either full- or part-time starters. Nielsen isn’t quite sure how that experience will translate into the triple option once the season gets going, but he’s excited for the challenge.
The rest of 2A isn’t the only thing Parowan’s football program is competing against. A lot of kids have stopped coming out for football to focus on other sports.
Nielsen understands that other sports — most notably cross country — have been more successful lately, and therefore more appealing. He enters as Parowan's head coach wanting to encourage kids to play as many sports as possible, and he just hopes football is part of their plans.
He hopes kids will embrace the challenge of turning the program around — not so much for his satisfaction but for the lessons they’ll learn along the way.
“There’s a lot of hard work that goes into football, and when you don’t feel like it pays off it can really be discouraging. Of course wins are important, but I want to try and help these kids recognize that there’s really something to be said in this world for finishing something,” said Nielsen.
“A lot of the problems that we see in the world today are because people are lazy. They don’t see the satisfaction and growth that can come in finishing something whether or not you were the very best at it.”
Parowan Rams at a glance
Coach: Brigham Nielsen is entering his first year as a high school football coach at any level. He’s a graduate of Highland High, and a recent graduate of Southern Utah University.
(8 returning starters; Triple-option offense)