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Coaching Carousel in Full Swing Ahead of '22 Season
'Round and 'round the carousel...where it stops, no one knowws
Published: 7/26/2022 3:46:40 PM
Brandon Baney
Managing Editor/Broadcaster
brandon@idahosports.com
 

ORDER GAME PHOTOS

As football teams around the state embark upon two-a-day practices ahead of the 2022 season opener, a large number will do so with a new head coach leading the way.

The coaching carousel has picked up more and more steam with each passing year, and the number of offseason coaching changes was the largest in recent memory.

Unfortunately, coaching has become similar to officiating: it's a thankless job, with lots of outside criticism from so-called "experts" who think they can do better.

Parents, fans, players, administrators, broadcasters, etc.: Please cut our coaches some slack.  Wins and losses aren't the only result worth tracking.  How they develop these young men into productive members of society should also be strongly considered.

With that said, here's a breakdown of the new faces you'll see on the sidelines this year.

CLASS 5A

CAPITAL EAGLES

OUT: Todd Simis
IN: Jay Bohner

Simis called it a career after 18 seasons of coaching the Eagles.  In that time, Capital never had a losing season, and Simis compiled a record of 135-55.  Those are big shoes to fill, but Jay Bohner is a more-than-capable replacement.  Bohner is just the sixth football coach in Capital history, and returns to the Gem State after 33 years coaching college and high school football in Illinois.  Bohner, a 1989 Capital High graduate, went 10-17 in three years at Kankakee High and 23-21 in five years at Casey-Westfield High.  Both programs were in dire straits before Bohner engineered turnarounds.

HIGHLAND RAMS

OUT: Gino Mariani
IN: Nick Sorrell

Mariani shocked the sports world in late June when he abruptly resigned his position as Highland's head coach, a position he had held since 2002.  In that time, the Rams never missed the playoffs, and claimed four state championships along the way.  Nick Sorrell had been Highland's defensive coordinator under Mariani for the past six seasons, and was the head JV coach prior to that.  Many observers claim that Sorrell had been groomed to take over the head coaching job eventually.  This summer's sudden departure of Mariani only expedited the process.

MOUNTAIN VIEW MAVERICKS

OUT: Judd Benedick
IN: Brian Compton

Benedick turned in his resignation after 15 years of leading the Mavericks so he could watch his twin sons Kade and Kai, who will be entering their sophomore seasons at Rocky Mountain High.  Benedick went 116-42 at Mountain View, and led the Mavericks to a state title in 2016.  Like Highland, Mountain View hired an internal candidate to take Benedick's place: former offensive coordinator Brian Compton.  Compton led the Mountain View offense for 14 seasons, and becomes just the third head coach in school history.

NAMPA BULLDOGS

OUT: Dan Holtry
IN: Jon Choate

Holtry stepped down in June after 6 seasons in charge of the Bulldogs' program.  In those six years, Holtry went 31-31 and had to resign his position after being hired as a Vice Principal at Vallivue High.  Nampa went with a familiar face as Holtry's replacement.  Jon Choate enters his second stint as the head coach at Nampa, after previously leading the Bulldogs from 2012-15.  Choate has spent the past six seasons as the Special Teams Coordinator at the College of Idaho.

THUNDER RIDGE TITANS

OUT: Jeff Marshall
IN: Michael Berger

Marshall, the first coach in Thunder Ridge history, stepped down after four years and an 11-25 record.  This is an example of why you can't judge a coach strictly by wins and losses.  Marshall took a brand-new program with almost exclusively underclassmen and turned it into a playoff contender.  Now it will be up to Michael Berger to continue the trend.  Berger certainly has the pedigree: he's the son of longtime Skyline coach Scott Berger.  Berger had previously been an assistant coach at Highland.


CLASS 4A

BURLEY BOBCATS

OUT: Dylan Corless
IN: Cameron Andersen

One of the earliest moves announced, this coaching switch sent shockwaves throughout the Magic Valley.  Corless, a graduate of Burley's biggest rival (Minico), resigned after three seasons with the Bobcats.  Burley went 3-6 in each of Corless' three seasons for an overall total of 9-18.  Andersen, meanwhile, left Gooding High after a 13-year stint that saw the Senators reach the postseason 12 times, including a trip to the 3A semifinals in 2021.

CENTURY DIAMONDBACKS

OUT: Logan Horrocks
IN: Ryan Fleischmann

Horrocks came to Century in the summer of 2021 after previously serving as Jerome High's Defensive Coordinator.  He lasted just one year, leading the Diamondbacks to a 2-6 record last fall.  After serving as an assistant coach over the past few seasons, a familiar face is back in charge on the Century sideline.  Ryan Fleischmann will attempt his second stint as the Diamondbacks head coach.  He was also the head coach at Century from 2002-04, compiling a 13-15 record.

COLUMBIA WILDCATS

OUT: Greg Asbury
IN: Charlie Dotson

Asbury finally called it a career this past spring, as the former Parma, Homedale and Columbia coach hung it up after a 30-plus year career.  Charlie Dotson was hired as his replacement, and brings nine years of assistant coaching experience with him.  Dotson previously lived in Kalispell, Montana, and was an assistant coach at Flathead High School.

LAKELAND HAWKS

OUT: Tim Kiefer
IN: Mike Schroeder

The iconic Tim Kiefer stepped down at Lakeland after a 19-year career as head coach of the Hawks.  Kiefer expressed a desire to watch his daughter, Addie, as she competes for the North Idaho College basketball team.  And now, for the first time since 1979, a coach outside of the Kiefer family will patrol the Lakeland sidelines.  Tim's father Terry was the Lakeland coach from 1980-2002, and Tim took over in 2003.  Although the new coach isn't a Kiefer, it's a familiar name to Idaho football fans.  Mike Schroeder was an assistant at Lakeland in 2021 but brings 19 years of head coaching experience to the job.  He previously coached in California and at Emmett High from 2012-16, where he led the Huskies to the Class 3A championship in 2015.  He also won a California Interscholastic Federation championship in 2004, and has a career record of 138-68-1.

MOSCOW BEARS

OUT: Phil Helbling
IN: Rob Bafus

Helbling stepped down after ten seasons at his alma mater to spend more time with his family.  Helbling led the Bears from 2012-21, and turned Moscow into a perennial playoff participant.  Rob Bafus previously served as Troy's head coach from 2009-16, and had been out of football until this year.  He led the Trojans to the Class 1A Division I championship in 2010.

PRESTON INDIANS

OUT: Eric Thorson
IN: Craig Cunningham

Thorson resigned after four seasons at Preston, where he turned an Indians program in dire straits into a solid 4A playoff contender.  In his four years, Preston went 18-20, and Thorson took the Indians to the playoffs in two of those four seasons.  Cunningham has been an assistant on Thorson's staff the past three seasons, and coached in Utah as an assistant for 23 years prior to that.

RIDGEVUE WARHAWKS

OUT: Tom DeWitz
IN: Sean Impomeni

DeWitz was the first coach in Ridgevue history, taking over the team in its inaugural season of 2016 and leading the way for the past six seasons.  Now Impomeni becomes the second coach at the Nampa school.  Impomeni graduated from Bishop Kelly in 1993 and was an assistant coach with the Knights from 1998 to 2009.  Impomeni became the head coach at Canyon Ridge High in Twin Falls in 2014, and led the team to a 22-43 record in seven seasons.  He stepped down from coaching in 2021 so he could focus on his duties as Canyon Ridge Athletic Director.


CLASS 3A

AMERICAN FALLS BEAVERS

OUT: Cory Hollingsworth
IN: Tim Hoppe

Veteran coach Cory Hollingsworth's time at American Falls ended after four seasons and an 11-24 record.  Taking his place is out-of-state hire Tim Hoppe.  Hoppe cut his teeth coaching high school football in Oregon at Forest Grove High School.  He spent seven seasons with the Vikings, and worked his way up from Freshman Coach to JV Defensive Coordinator to Varsity Defensive Coordinator.  In 2021, Hoppe served as an assistant coach at Burnet High in Texas.

FRUITLAND GRIZZLIES

OUT: Ryan Tracy
IN: Dane Cook

Tracy's time with the Fruitland program (9 years as head coach, 20 years total) came to an end earlier this spring.  There's no denying that his time at Fruitland contained highs, like the back-to-back championships in 2016 and '17.  But objective observers would also say that Tracy's tenure also contained a couple of serious lows.  Tracy was suspended for two games in 2020 for taking pictures of the Weiser playbook and sending them to the Emmett coaching staff.  Fruitland also forfeited it's chance to fight for a playoff spot after an alleged hazing incident last October.  A new era begins now with Dane Cook, who brings 33 years of experience to the position.  After serving as Emmett's defensive coordinator for ten years, he has spent the past 18 seasons coaching in California.

GOODING SENATORS

OUT: Cameron Andersen
IN: Tanner Baumann

Cameron Andersen left for the Burley coaching vacancy after 14 years at Gooding.  Tanner Baumann was hired as his replacement, and the 2011 Gooding graduate brings plenty of experience to the job.  Baumann has spent the past three seasons coaching the Bulldogs' offensive line, and also served as the head JV coach during that time.  Baumann also completed his first season as the boys basketball head varsity coach at Gooding during the 2021-22 school year.

KIMBERLY BULLDOGS

OUT: Rich Bishop
IN: Joe Dille

Rich Bishop retired this past spring after 24 years as a coach in the Kimberly football program, including 9 as head coach.  The Bulldogs went with an internal hire, as former Assistant Coach Joe Dille has ascended to the top position.  Dille had been an assistant for the last four years, and will now try to imprint his own style on Kimberly's program.

MARSH VALLEY EAGLES

OUT: Doug Armstrong
IN: Jeff Belnap

Doug Armstrong stepped down after six seasons as Marsh Valley's head coach.  Jeff Belnap was a top assistant to Armstrong for four of those six seasons, and ascends to the top job after leading the Eagles' special teams unit most recently.

SNAKE RIVER PANTHERS

OUT: Jeb Harrison
IN: Jeff Dalley

At Snake River, the name Harrison is often mention in hushed tones of reverence.  Tom Harrison led Snake River to eight state championships in the 1990s and early 2000s. Fast forward to 2016, when Tom's son Jeb Harrison was hired to lead the program his dad once coached.  For the first time, father and son met head-to-head on the gridiron this past fall in a 3A playoff battle (Tom's 3A champion Weiser Wolverines won 21-0.)  Following a 5-5 season in 2021, Jeb Harrison was asked to resign by Snake River officials, and he's now been replaced by a former Panthers coach who has taken the team to the top of the mountain.  No, it's not Tom Harrison (he's still at Weiser.)  Jeff Dalley is back for his second stint, and was the coach right before Jeb Harrison was hired.  He coached the team from 2008-15, and won two 3A titles at Snake River during that stretch.

TETON TIMBERWOLVES

OUT: Jeff Wilkes
IN: David Joyce

For the second consecutive year, Teton will be breaking in a new head coach.  After serving as an assistant coach at Teton for six years, Jeff Wilkes tried his hand at the head job and leaves after one season and a 1-7 record.  Teton went across the pass for their next coach, hiring former Jackson High (Wyoming) coach David Joyce.  Joyce has actually lived in Idaho for the past two years, and made the long commute each morning to Jackson.  In five years leading the Broncs, Joyce went 33-22 overall.  After an 0-9 campaign in his first season, Joyce drastically turned around the Jackson program, leading the team to back-to-back 4A championship game appearances the last two seasons.


CLASS 2A

ABERDEEN TIGERS

OUT: Jeff Duffin
IN: Braden Driscoll

Jeff Duffin hung it up after ten seasons leading Aberdeen to a string of playoff appearances that ended somewhat early. The Driscoll name is a familiar one in Aberdeen, and that's who's been tabbed to lead the Tigers in 2022, as Braden Driscoll embarks on his first season as head coach.  Driscoll has three years of experience as a varsity assistant coach and has spent nine years coaching youth and middle school football.

FIRTH COUGARS

OUT: Jordan Bartlett
IN: Rigo Vasquez

Jordan Bartlett resigned his position this past spring, after an incredible three-year run that saw Firth finish 21-12, with two consecutive 2A championship game appearances in 2020 and '21.  Rigo Vasquez served as Defensive Coordinator under Bartlett for the past three years, and now assumes the head coaching role.  Vasquez also coaches Firth's baseball team during the spring, so running a program won't be foreign to him.

MALAD DRAGONS

OUT: Lucas Thorne
IN: Coby Crozier

Lucas Thorne came to Malad from Pasco, Washington last year, and after one season, stepped away.  Filling those shoes is first-time head coach Coby Crozier, a former West Side Pirates player and assistant coach.  Malad officials are hoping that Crozier can bring some of that West Side winning magic to a Dragons program that's fallen on hard times.  The last time Malad finished with a winning record was back in 2014, when the Dragons went 5-3.  Overall, Malad has gone 10-49 since 2014.  In that same time frame, West Side has gone 63-11.

MARSING HUSKIES

OUT: Mike Nunnelee
IN: Shea McClellin

Marsing has seen a lot of turnover in the coaching ranks, as the Huskies try to break in their 8th different head coach in the last 10 years.  The main difference, though, is that this time Marsing hired one of the greatest players in Marsing history, former Boise State and NFL linebacker Shea McClellin.  After retiring from the NFL in 2018, McClellin spent time as an assistant coach at Mountain View, Corona Del Mar High School in California, and Cole Valley Christian.  He was the Chargers' Offensive Coordinator in 2021.

OROFINO MANIACS

OUT: Garret Bretz
IN: Jake Maetche

Garret Bretz stepped down as Orofino head coach after four seasons at the helm.  Jake Maetche steps into his first head-coaching job, but Maetche is not light on experience.  His career started in Potlatch, where he spent two seasons as an assistant.  He then moved on to Orofino, where he's been a varsity assistant for six seasons, and the Junior High head coach for three seasons.

PRIEST RIVER SPARTANS

OUT: Jared Hughes
IN: Brad Martin

Priest River's football team is ready to party like it's 2017.  That was the last time Priest River had a .500 or better record in the regular season.  That was also the last time that Priest River qualified for the playoffs.  Their coach that year was Brad Martin, who resigned his position following his first and only year in charge of the Spartans' program.  In the four years since Martin's lone season in 2017, Priest River has gone 4-27.  But Martin is back for his second stint as head coach, and will help the Spartans transition to the 2A level.  In an interesting wrinkle, former head coach Jared Hughes is still on staff this year, and will be an assistant coach.

RIRIE BULLDOGS:

OUT: Jim Newton
IN: Josh Huntsman

After seven seasons leading the Bulldogs, Jim Newton resigned this past spring.  Josh Huntsman was quickly tabbed to replace Newton, and has 18 years of coaching experience previously.  Most recently, Huntsman served as the head coach at Carbon High School in Price, Utah for five seasons.  From 2015-19, Huntsman coached the Dinos to a 4-45 record.  However, several of those losses were excruciatingly close.  The former Idaho State defensive end served as Jared Allen's backup in college, and is returning to his east Idaho roots. 

SALMON SAVAGES

OUT: Kenny Martens
IN: Trey Infanger

Kenny Martens led the Savages for one season, as Salmon finished 2-5 overall.  Trey Infanger was a 2010 graduate of Salmon High, and has spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach.  He now ascends to the top position, while Martens will remain on staff as well as an assistant.

WEST JEFFERSON PANTHERS

OUT: Ty Minto
IN: Kip Blanchard

Ty Minto lasted three years at West Jefferson, and compiled a 9-17 overall.  However, Minto had the program trending in the right direction.  After a winless 0-8 campaign in 2019, he engineered a 5-4 season in 2021 that culminated in a playoff berth.  It will now be up to new coach Kip Blanchard to keep the positive vibes going strong.


CLASS 1A DIVISION I

CHALLIS VIKINGS

OUT: Marty Mitchell
IN: Andrew Cutler

The Challis Vikings have undergone a series of coaching changes over the past few seasons.  They've had short-term head coaches, they've had co-head coaches, and now they will settle on another new leader.  Andrew Cutler has previous experience as a varsity assistant, as well as a junior high coach.

GREENLEAF FRIENDS GRIZZLIES

OUT: Tyler Hoaglun
IN: Jeremy Perkins

Tyler Hoaglun oversaw the re-emergence of a football program at Greenleaf Friends Academy in 2020.  After a five-year dormant period, Hoaglun coaches the Grizzlies in '20 and '21 and also served as the Athletic Director at GFA as well.  Hoaglun left this summer to become the Athletic Director at North Star Charter, which created a couple of voids.  In terms of who will be coaching the Greenleaf football team, it's actually the Athletic Director from Gem State Academy, Jeremy Perkins.  Gem State has co-oped with Greenleaf the past two seasons, and Perkins has volunteered to take on the job.

LAKESIDE KNIGHTS

OUT: Chris Dohrman
IN: Tyler Petty

After eight seasons at the helm of the Lakeside program, Chris Dohrman resigned.  Tyler Petty joined Lakeside High as a teacher in 2021, and will now become the Knights' new head football coach.  Petty previously spent time at Potlatch, where he coached baseball, football and golf.  He has been the Loggers' head baseball coach for the past two seasons, including the 2021-22 season while he was teaching at Lakeside.

LIGHTHOUSE CHRISTIAN LIONS:

OUT: John Silvers
IN: Jason Smith

Longtime Lighthouse coach Cory Holloway retired after the 2020 season.  His defensive coordinator, John Silvers, took the reins for one season, leading Lighthouse to an 0-8 record in the gauntlet that is the Snake River Conference.  For Lighthouse Christian's next head coaching hire, they went all the way to Florida.  Jason Smith played college football for the University of Central Florida, and enjoyed a nice career coaching both 11- and 8-man football in the Tampa area.  He went 35-14 over the past five seasons in Florida, and won 2 state championships.

PRAIRIE PIRATES

OUT: Ryan Hasselstrom
IN: T.T. Cain

Longtime Prairie coach Ryan Hasselstrom retired after the 2021 season.  His son, All-State running back Brody Hasselstrom, will be playing football at Eastern Oregon University, and Ryan wanted the chance to watch his son play.  Hasselstrom had two separate head coaching stints with the Pirates.  Initially, he was the head coach from 1998 to 2004.  After a year away, he came back as an assistant coach under Travis Mader from 2006 to 2011.  He re-assumed head coaching duties from 2012 to 2021.  In his second stint as head coach, he led the Pirates to state championships in 2014, 2017 and 2019.  Replacing Hasselstrom is T.T. Cain.  Cain previously spent eight years at Challis.  His time was split evenly, as he was an assistant coach from 2011 to 2014.  He then became the Vikings' head coach from 2015 to 2018.

CLASS 1A DIVISION II

WATERSPRINGS WARRIORS

OUT: Chris Strahm
IN: Shane Remer

After four seasons of coaching the Warriors, Chris Strahm has moved on.  Shane Remer, who's been an assistant at Watersprings for the past six seasons, is the new head coach.

 

 
 

 

 









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