Note: West Jordan finished with a 2-8 overall record and finished in a three-way tie for third in Region 3 with a 2-3 record in 2012. It lost to Brighton, 14-7, in the Region 3 play-in game. Scroll to the bottom of the story to see West Jordan Felt’s Facts.
WEST JORDAN — When it comes to the world of Utah high school football, the name DuPaix is legendary.
And this year — just two seasons after former Skyline coach Roger DuPaix won his 301st game and then retired his position after 35 years of coaching — there is a new DuPaix in town.
Roger’s son, Danny DuPaix, is taking over the West Jordan football program and following in the footsteps of his dad, as well as those of many other family members.
“My grandmother was a teacher; my father was a teacher; three or four of my siblings were teachers,” the younger DuPaix said of what drew him to the teaching and coaching professions. “Everybody’s wanted to do it; we love to teach. We love to help develop youth. We love to work with young people.”
As for coaching football, however, that love developed partly as a means to spend time with his dad.
“Growing up, if you wanted to spend time with him during football season, you were watching film with him,” DuPaix said. “He had his whole audio-visual setup back in the day, and that’s what you did — you went and watched film with him.”
The West Jordan coach added that those informal sessions were important then and continue to benefit his team now.
“I learned a lot from that, and have some really good memories,” he said. “Those were times where he would actually tell you what he was thinking. A lot of times he would keep quiet, but watching film he would tell you exactly what he was thinking, and I love those times and grew close to him.”
As DuPaix moves closer to his own inaugural season, it would be nice to have his dad and his football mind close at hand.
“He’s in the Philippines right now finishing up his (LDS) mission. He’ll be back after this first year,” he said. “It’s kind of hard — when I need him the most he’s not around. But if I could talk him out of retirement to come help us, he would be next hire.”
Until that time, DuPaix has a group of players he is thrilled to work with at a school he is thrilled to be in as they come together to rebuild a struggling program that has a strong history.
“They’ve worked extremely hard in the offseason; strength and speed have gone up tremendously,” he said. “I know that type of kid that is here is the type I want to work with. That’s what gets me really excited.”
One of those kids is returning quarterback Colton Michaelson, a senior who stepped in last year when the starter was injured. Michaelson finished his junior season with 1,226 passing yards and five touchdowns.
“He stepped in and did a really good job considering the offense wasn’t built for Colton, it was built for Michael (Moorehead), and they’re two different styles of athletes,” Dupaix said. “This offseason, he really proved he wanted to lead this team.”
Alongside Michaelson are returning starters Ryzen Benson and Seth Gardner. Both play wide receiver and corner back, both are team captains, and both have gotten their coach’s attention.
“Two of the hardest workers on the team,” the coach said. “Watching game film on them last year against Hunter, some big running back goes to run them over and they hung on for ride and popped right back up. That’s who they are, and I like that leading this team.”
The Jaguars have also recruiting a couple of newcomers to the gridiron, like Brent Beales, the starting power forward on the basketball team whose 6-foot-5 frame belongs on the football field; like Chandler Frischknecht, an athlete who had played lacrosse and other sports, but decided he wanted to play football his senior year; and like Kingi Wolfgramm, who had not played football for a few years before attending a handful of camps during the offseason and was offered a scholarship.
“I know the potential here is great,” DuPaix said of his reason for choosing to coach at West Jordan. “I know coach (Scott) Briggs here with basketball does a phenomenal job, and if he can win two state titles in 10 years, then there’s athletes. Or he’s an incredible coach and we need to learn from him, so either way I thought it was a great opportunity for me.”
West Jordan Jaguars at a glance
Coach: Danny Dupaix is entering his first season as West Jordan’s head coach. He is a graduate of Skyline High.
(3 returning starters, spread option) Returning quarterback Colton Michaelson will lead the new Jaguar offense, and will do so with experience under his belt. Michaelson became the starter a season ago due to injuries and has shown head coach Danny DuPaix great improvement over the offseason. He will have big targets to throw to in 6-foot-5 Brent Beales, the starting power forward on the basketball team, and 6-foot-3 Chandler Frischknecht along with returners Ryzen Benson and Seth Gardner.
(6 returning starters) Benson and Gardner, seniors who combined for 66.5 tackles a year ago, will also anchor the defensive effort with a “no fear” mentality in the secondary. Nate Baum will use his strength and leadership to anchor the line on both sides of the ball
Coaches preseason Region 3 straw poll: Fifth
Deseret News Region 3 prediction: Fifth
Bottom line: The Jaguars have struggled recently and have a new coach while playing in an extremely tough region. But West Jordan has good athletes and DuPaix’s enthusiasm will bring positive attention to the program. The Jaguars are headed in the right direction, but it will take some time to get where they are looking to go.
West Jordan coaching history
2013-current — Daniel Dupaix (0-0)
1999-2012 — Mike Morgan (66-68)
1997-1998 — Brent Hawkins (6-14)
1989-1996 — Rick Bojak (48-33)
1985-1988 — Tom Molen (3-34)
1981-1984 — Larry Sanich (6-28)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
2010 — Martavius Redmond WR
2005 — Mike Meifu, RB
2004 — Rio Stotler, DL
2003 — Hunter Utley, OL
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.