DISTINGUISHED HIGH SCHOOL COACHES
2018 – View Video of 2018 Inductees
A graduate of Bonneville High School and Weber State, Craig Gladwell won four state basketball championships in the 1990s as North Sevier High School’s coach. In the modern era, few varsity head coaches of high-profile sports stay in the game for anything approaching the length of Craig’s 43-year tenure. “I just kept plugging along, and loving it, right up until now,” he said when he retired in 2012. His career choice was inspired by the legendary Dick Motta, who taught a coaching methods class at Weber State, where Craig was a baseball star. After working at the junior high level, Craig moved to Idaho and enjoyed successful stints of coaching multiple sports at two small high schools, Aberdeen and West Side. His 1980 West Side football team won a state title.
Following four years at the larger Blackfoot High School, Craig came back to Utah at North Sevier, where his consistent success turned into a basketball dynasty over 16 years. The Wolves’ basketball teams won Class 2A state championships in 1990, ’91, ’96 and ’97, in addition to a runner-up performance and three third-place finishes. In 1998, he was voted by his peers as the state of Utah’s best small-school coach in a Salt Lake Tribune survey.
In 1990, North Sevier beat county rival Richfield High for the first time in 17 years on the way to the school’s first state title in 12 years. At one time, he was the only Utah high school teacher to act as an athletic director and head coach in football, basketball and baseball. Craig concluded his career with a 10-year run at Lehi High School, leading the Pioneers to second place in the 2004 state tournament. He finished with a basketball coaching record of 489-265.
The committees he was involved with in the Utah High School Activities Association (“play where you live” and “sportsmanship”) speak of his efforts to retain traditional values. Wayne Henderson, one of Craig’s multisport athletes at West Side, said he appreciates how his coach “did not forget about us when he moved to positions at other places,” remaining interested in their lives.
Craig was named the basketball “Coach of the Year” in his classification five times in Utah and was honored as the state’s “Athletic Director of the Year” in 1999. He received a distinguished service award from the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association in 2006 and earned a citation from the National Federation of State High Schools in 2011. Craig and his wife, Karen, are parents of four children and live in Murray.
A graduate of Murray High School and the University of Utah, Esther Halliday won three consecutive state championships as Bingham High School’s girls volleyball coach. Esther’s 42-year career in education included 31 years as a volleyball coach, among other assignments. She started in 1974 as a coach in three sports at Judge Memorial Catholic High School and retired from Indian Hills Middle School last June. In between, she spent 30 years at Bingham, with long tenures as the Miners’ volleyball coach and chair of the physical education department. Records were not kept prior to 1980, but she posted a 626-31 record from 1980-2005. The Miners won state champion-ships in 1989, ’90 and ’91. “All three championships are cherished battles but the third was unexpected,” Esther once wrote. “Placing third in region, this team, with only one experienced senior, whose desire carried the team of five juniors beyond its wildest imaginations, advanced to the championship and stole away the title from a team whose destiny seemed certain, a story definitely worthy of an inspirational Hollywood movie.”
Bingham also finished second in the state in ’94. Her teams won six region titles and only once, early her career, did Bingham miss the state tournament. Nearly half of her teams finished in the state’s top eight. She also was the Miners’ head coach in basketball and track and field in the late 1970s. “Esther’s coaching experience speaks for itself,” said former Bingham Athletic Director Brad Bevan. “Her trademark was her organization skills and her ability to teach a variety of skill sets to her physical education students.”
Esther has received many awards along the way. She earned a Utah Coaches Association “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2004 and a Bingham “Candlelight Lifetime Service Award” in 2006. The Bingham Alumni Foundation’s tribute credits her for taking “a personal interest in all her students and putting her whole heart into the structure of teaching, coaching and student behavior at Bingham that was followed by elite coaches and teachers long after her retirement.”
In recounting her life story, Esther once wrote about how “in the early 1970’s women’s sports was in its infancy and struggling to make a significant presence in a male dominant sports world. Title IX compliance forced schools to make high school sports available to their female athletes as well as the male athletes. Female coaches were in demand, placing me in the role of a lifetime.” In retirement, Esther lives in Salt Lake City.
A graduate of Teton High School in Idaho and Brigham Young University, Mike Hansen won three state championships as Layton’s wrestling coach. The Lancers also finished second three times during his 31-year tenure and he was a four-time Utah wrestling “Coach of the Year.” Among the more than 150 individual state place-winners he coached were his sons Tyrone, Blake and and Braden. Mike wrestled for BYU in 1970-74, winning two Western Athletic Conference titles and earning All-America honors. Mike served three terms as president of the Utah Wrestling Coaches Association and was inducted into the Utah High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2000, he earned “Coach of the Year” awards in both the Utah High School Activities Association and Section VII of the National Federation of State High Schools and was presented the “Utah Champions Award.” In 2003, he was NFHS Wrestling “Coach of the Year.”
Mike was known for his teaching style, technique instruction and development of team culture in an individual sport. And when he received his national award, he made sure his wrestlers joined him on the stage during a school assembly. Mike always wanted his athletes to learn lessons from the demanding sport. “If they can finish wrestling,” he once told the Deseret News, “they can finish anything in life.”
At age 40, he was involved in an epic match in the Utah Summer Games with his brother Brad, who was then 31 and the wrestling coach at Spanish Fork High School. Competing in the 220-pound open division in 1989, the brothers battled to an 11-11 tie with 45 seconds remaining, when the power went out in Southern Utah University’s arena. Each scored another point in regulation, and agreed to a draw rather than go into overtime.
Beyond his own teams’ achievements, Mike is recognized as an innovator of wrestling tournaments in Utah. His 18-team Layton Invitational became an annual state classic. Prior to the early 1980s, the UHSAA did not permit in-season invitational tournaments to exceed eight teams, although the state meet included 16 teams in each classification. Mike appealed and presented to the UHSAA a 16-team plan that would fit within the time-out-of-school constraints, decrease costs, improve revenue and expand competition. To the surprise of Layton administrators, the UHSAA then approved 16-team invitationals. Mike applied, hosted and won the first 16-team invitational. (Invitationals now are even bigger).
Mike also was instrumental in the UHSAA’s move to allow two wrestlers in the same weight class from the same school to qualify for the state tournament, rather than one of them having to make weight adjustments to compete in the region meet. Parents of six children, Mike and his wife, Sherisse, live in Layton.
An Iowa native and a graduate of Iowa State University, Brian Kuhlmann enjoyed pheno-menal success as the coach of Timpview High School’s cross country and track and field programs with 14 state championships and 13 second-place finishes. After coaching at high schools in Wisconsin and Illinois, Brian came to Timpview in 1979 and launched a 28-year tenure that would include his cross country teams qualifying for the state meet every season. His boys teams won eight state championships, including four in a row in 1986-89. Timpview produced seven individual state champions and 35 all-state runners. In track and field, the Thunderbirds had 41 individual and relay state titles, with seven state records.
Brian was known for emphasizing the team concept in an individual sport. The boys and girls teams were always considered one program. “What I really enjoyed the most was seeing kids improve every year on their events,” Kuhlmann once told The Daily Herald of Provo. “I never say a kid can’t achieve what he wants to achieve. Sometimes a kid would say to me, ‘Coach, I’m going to set the school record,’ and in the back of my mind I’d think, ‘No way.’ But I’ll be goll-danged if they didn’t.”
The National Federation of State High Schools named him cross country “Coach of the Year,” in 2006, adding to many honors from the Utah High School Track and Field Coaches Association. The coaches in Utah Valley asked him to stage an annual track invitational that served as a state qualifying meet, along with a Utah Country cross country developmental meet.
BYU’s cross country program, in particular, has benefited from homegrown athletes from nearby Timpview in a state that consistently has produced outstanding runners. Brian credits high school coaches such as Dave Houle, Roger Buhrley and Jeff Arbogast for creating a culture of running in the state that he developed at Timpview. Those coaches “helped get kids excited about running,” Brian told The Daily Universe of BYU. “We now have been blessed with lots of good kids, and those kids bring their friends along. Because of the accomplishments of the past, our kids look beyond the state meet, thinking they can run in college.” His influence continues with several former student teachers and interns who have become high school coaches, along with Timpview alumni who have gone into the profession. Brian and his wife, Janet, are parents of seven children and live in Provo.
A native of Nevada and a graduate of Weber State University, Roger Pyper won four state championships as Wasatch High School’s girls basketball coach. Roger started work-ing at the Heber City school in 1977 and coached the boys tennis team to second place in the state in ’79, the program’s highest finish at that time. In 15 seasons as the Wasps’ baseball coach, he won five region titles and received two Class 2A “Coach of the Year” awards, while Wasatch took second place in 1988 and finished in the top four in three other seasons. The baseball program had been cut from the curriculum for six years, before Roger revived it. Using community volunteers, he built and main-tained the field that now is known as one of the best facilities in the state.
Girls basketball became the source of his greatest success, beginning with the 1989-90 season. In 21 years, he went 339-177, with some remarkable season records. Wasatch went 25-0, 24-1 (twice) and 23-2. Roger’s teams won state championships in 1996, 2002, 2008 and 2009 and claimed 16 region titles. In 14 of his 16 state appearances, Wasatch finished in the top six. Roger coached four state MVPs and one player who was named “Miss Basketball” in Utah. In 2002, he was selected as the Western Regional Girls Basketball “Coach of the Year” by the National Federation of State High Schools. In Utah, he was named the Class 3A “Coach of the Year” four times and the region “Coach of the Year” 11 times.
Roger’s impact in the Heber Valley began at the youth level. He and his wife, Susan, once worked together to launch the Wasatch Junior High girls basketball team and they voluntarily conducted the Junior Jazz program for girls in grades 2-8 for 18 years. Roger and Sue are known as creative and committed fund-raisers, helping to launch those high school baseball and junior high basketball programs. With parental help, they sold chili, hot chocolate, hot dogs and baked goods at dogsled races and football games. They also raised money through a tennis skills tournament and by selling candy and hundreds of homemade suckers.
And the athletes had to buy into the program with their dedication. They were required to do field and gym maintenance, set up equipment and help create practice plans. “We tried to instill in them that it is a privilege to play and represent a school team, and the need to take extreme pride in the team,” Roger said. “Our former players will tell you that they learned the value of hard work.” Roger and Susan are parents of two children and live in Midway.
A graduate of Kearns High School and the University of Utah, Larry Swim coached Murray’s boys and girls teams to 17 state swimming championships. Larry coached the Spartans for 30 years and his state titles were divided almost evenly, with nine gold trophies in girls competition and eight in boys meets. His teams won a combined 42 region titles. In water polo, conducted separately from the Utah High School Activities Association, he added another 16 state championships. In 1990, Larry was named the UHSAA’s Class 3A “Coach of the Year.” As voted by the Utah High School Coaches Association, he was a seven-time “Coach of the Year” for girls swimming and a five-time “Coach of the Year” for boys swimming. He served as president of the Coaches Association for six years and directed the high school state meet for more than 10 years.
Larry also coached the Murray Aquatic Club for 30 years. While coaching many top-level swimmers, Larry always tried to maximize the potential of athletes with less talent. “That’s more rewarding to me,” he told the Deseret News after retiring in 2006. “Don’t get me wrong, you like to see those (elite swimmers). But to watch a kid that barely gets (to state) as a freshman or sophomore and are big players when they’re juniors or seniors, that’s what it’s about to me.” Coaches such as Larry have long-lasting impact. That became evident during a party that was organized by former swimmers and their parents, after he tried to slip quietly into retirement. “He’s probably one of the biggest influences of my life,” said Carrie Hartman, who set several Murray High records during the 1990s. “He’s been a father, a coach, a friend, a colleague, a teacher. He’s been a lot of things.”
Larry almost became something other than a swimming coach. He once planned to follow his father into accounting, only to steer himself to an alternative career. “Boy, when I took my first accounting class, that was enough for me,” he once said. He cited his Kearns swimming coach, Larry Tracy, for influencing his ultimate path. Several friends from Kearns also went into education. Larry taught health education and was a counselor at Murray and once was named the Murray “Teacher of the Year” by the Board of Education. He and his wife, Denice, are parents of two children and live in Draper.
A native of Wyoming and a graduate of Weber State University, the late Jody Warren produced 26 individual state wrestling cham-pions in 25 years. After wrestling for Weber State, he coached for two years at Ogden High School and 23 years at Weber High School. His athletes included five All-Americans and 86 state place-winners. His 2006-07 Weber team went unbeaten on the way to the state championship. The Warriors also finished second in the state five times. Weber’s ’07 team featured Jody’s son, Shay, a four-time state champion who went on to wrestle for Harvard University. The Warriors beat powerful Viewmont in five head-to-head matches in the Region 1 tournament. And then in the Class 5A state meet, Weber earned the school’s first wrestling title in 51 years.
Don Wayne Nelson
Carol De Monge
James Durrant Jr
J. Wallace West
Dunn “Snide” Taylor