I'm extremely excited to be back at Dixie. I really enjoyed the past two years, one at Riverton and one at Murray. Those are great schools, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to come back to Dixie. —Dixie head coach Blaine Monkres
SALT LAKE CITY — With Brighton’s hiring of Rafe Maughan as its new football coach last Friday, the high school football offseason coaching carousel appears to officially have come to a stop.
By recent trends, it was a quiet offseason.
One year after 26 schools had a new head coach, and two years removed from 29 new head coaches, only 13 schools will have a new head coach in 2018. It’s the lowest turnover in the past decade and the fewest coaching changes since there were 15 new coaches in 2010.
Four of the 13 coaches have previous head coaching experience in Utah, while the other nine have a wide variety of experience of their own.
Nearly one-third of the coaching changes occurred in Region 9 and that uncertainty should make for an interesting season in 2018.
The first domino in the Region 9 shuffle occurred when Cary Whittingham resigned as Timpview’s football coach after a wildly successful six-year stint that included three state titles, three region titles and a 63-15 overall record.
Dixie’s Andy Stokes was hired to replace Whittingham, and he brings a strong résumé of his own up north. He led the Flyers to at least a share of the Region 9 title in all three years he was the head coach from 2015 to 2017, amassing a 26-9 record during that span.
“I am excited to be a part of the Timpview family and tradition. This is a flagship program and we will continue to work as hard as we can to continue the work that has been paved before us,” said Stokes.
A familiar face will step into Stokes’ vacancy at the tradition-rich program he’s leaving.
Blaine Monkres, who coached at Dixie from 2008 to 2014, returns to his old program after a three-year hiatus that included stops at Dixie State, Murray and Riverton. During his time at Dixie he led the Flyers to a 54-27 record and state titles in 2012 and 2014.
Overall, this will be Monkres’ 28th season as a head coach in Utah.
“I'm extremely excited to be back at Dixie. I really enjoyed the past two years, one at Riverton and one at Murray. Those are great schools but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to come back to Dixie,” said Monkres.
Another domino fell in Region 9 when Steve Pearson stepped down as Hurricane’s coach. He was replaced by Skyler Miller, who spent just one season at Canyon View in 2017.
Canyon View tabbed Chris Sawyers to fill its vacancy. He previously coached at Sunrise Mountain High School in Las Vegas.
Desert Hills made a surprising coaching change his offseason when it fired coach Carl Franke despite a 50-20 record in six seasons, including state titles in 2013 and 2016.
The school hired former Snow College running backs coach Mark Murdoch as its new head coach, and Murdoch has said he plans on spreading it out and playing a more up-tempo style this fall.
Murdoch is one of several coaches with Snow College connections taking over a high school program in 2018.
Former Snow College offensive line coach Rafe Maughan is taking the Brighton reins over from Ryan Bullett, who stepped down after 12 seasons as head coach to spend more time with his family.
Maughan was Garett Bolles’ offensive line coach at Snow College before Bolles moved onto the University of Utah and then the NFL.
Bountiful’s new coach Tyler Hughes has Snow College roots as well. He was the head coach in Ephraim from 2011 to 2012, but he departed in 2013 to be the quality control assistant coach at Ohio State under Urban Meyer. Most recently he was the head coach at Minot State in North Dakota from 2014 to 2016.
“I'm grateful for this opportunity. Bountiful football has a great tradition and a great community to support it. I am looking forward to building on this foundation and leading the program this year and beyond,” said Hughes.
Three other Northern schools tabbed familiar names as their new coaches.
Coming off a disappointing 2-8 season in 2017, Logan tabbed former Utah State wide receiver Travis Van Leeuwen to get the program back on track. After wrapping up his playing career at Utah State in 2014, Van Leeuwen helped coach the wide receivers at his alma mater, Timpview, in 2015 and 2016, and then last year was an assistant coach at Sky View.
New school Farmington also went the former college player route when hiring Daniel Coats as its inaugural coach. A former Deseret News Mr. Football recipient at Northridge High School in 2001, Coats played at BYU from 2003 to 2006. He then spent four years in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals and the Denver Broncos.
Layton hired Tyler Gladwell to replace Jim Batchelor, who stepped down after 13 seasons. Gladwell was previously the head coach at Bonneville for one season in 2013 and then Davis’ head coach from 2014 to 2016.
Along with Gladwell’s hiring at Layton, there are two other changes at 6A programs. Former Herriman offensive coordinator Jody Morgan was hired at Riverton to fill Monkres’ vacancy.
Hillcrest hired Ron Hill back in January as its new head coach football coach. He takes over for Cazzie Brown, who died very suddenly less than a week into the 2017 season. Hill was an assistant at Hillcrest last year, and in his first meeting with the players, after he was hired, he said, “He left us with one final lesson — and we all have to fight through it. I want to move forward, and It’s time to move forward.”
There was just two coaching changes among the smaller 32 schools in 3A, 2A and 1A, and Monticello didn’t have to look for with its replacement.
Former player Reed Anderson takes over as head coach at his alma mater, replacing coach Art Adair, who will still serve as an assistant coach. Anderson quarterbacked Monticello’s state championship team in 2004.
Rich's Ashley Brown, who had been the head coach for 18 years, resigned this month. His replacement hasn't been named yet.
Correction: An earlier version of this story omitted Rich High School's Ashley Brown, who recently resigned as football coach.