DISTINGUISHED HIGH SCHOOL COACHES
Kory Bosgieter was one of the most dominant high school football coaches in Weber
County for over 25 years, amassing a record that would be the envy of any coach.
He spent much of his career in Weber County.
He prepped at Bonneville High School where he played for legendary Laker coach, Thom Budge. After playing football at Weber State University, Bosgieter began his ascension in the coaching ranks. He spent 18 years as a head coach in his career including being an assistant coach at Snow College in 2003.
Bosgieter got his first head coaching job at Weber High School, where he coached form 1994-2002. His Warriors won the 4A state championship in 1999, the school’s second state championship in its 96 year history. He was selected as the 1999 UFCA Coach of the Year. He also served as the athletic director and was awarded the Weber School District’s E+ Team Award in 2002.
He succeeded Blaine Monkers at the helm of Fremont High School in 2008 where he stayed as head coach until 2016. In 2011, the veteran coach was named the UHSAA Coach of the Year. He was the 2014 All-Area Coach of the Year as well. His career included four Region One titles. Bosgieter coached the Silverwolves to the 5A state finals in 2010 and 2011 led by future NFL player, Nick Vigil.
Over his impressive career, he amassed a record of 108-87 with 5 region titles (1 at Weber and 4 at Fremont). His teams make the state playoffs 12 times in 18 years. His record at state included a 15-11 overall mark and a 3-1 record in the
state semifinals. In 2020, his alma mater honored him for his outstanding career by inducting him into the Bonneville Laker Athletic Hall of Fame.
He resides in Washington Terrace. He and his wife Diane have two children, Blake and Brooke.
Long time Logan High football coach Mike Favero left quite a legacy when he stepped away from the Grizzlies’ program after the 2015 season. From state championships to allstate
players, there was little he didn’t accomplish.
In 17 years as head coach, his teams won five state championships, finished second once and amassed eight region titles. His career record was an eye-popping 149-60.
“I didn’t spend a lot of time worrying about winning,” Favero told the Logan Herald-Journal when he retired. “I tried to build a program that gave us the best chance to be successful. I’ve lost a lot and had my butt kicked many times.”
Favero coached 12 Utah National Football Foundation Scholar-Leader Athletes, six Utah Most Valuable Players and 56 first-team All-State players. His accolades included being the 2018 National Football Foundation and College Hall
of Fame Utah Chapter Outstanding High School Football Coach. In 2008, he was the UHSAA Coach of the Year and the National Federation of High School Coaches Western United States Coach of the Year. Favero was a five time Utah Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year.
He was also invited to be a national speaker for Glazier Football Clinics educating coaches and promoting the sport of football. “I view stepping down as a celebration as opposed to being sad,” Favero told the Herald Journal. “Obviously, there is some sadness associated with it. I love Logan High School. It’s been 28 years of joy.”
Favero was born in San Diego where he attended Helix High School, the same high school Bill Walton attended. He received graduate and post-graduate degrees from Utah State University. The Logan resident is married to Heidi and they have two sons, Jace and Easton.
Few high school coaches can match Mike LaHargoue’s record in four different sports. Over the course of a 27-year career, he coached boys’ soccer, girls’ soccer, softball and baseball, compiling an eye-popping record of 530 wins, 76 losses and four ties.
Where didn’t he have success?
He won four girls’ soccer state titles and one baseball championship. His teams finished second in state eight times, include six in soccer, one in softball and one in baseball. His women’s soccer teams played in 14 Final Fours. He coached softball for five years, making the state semifinals four times.
When LaHargoue coached soccer at Mountain View, two of his players were Shauna Rohbock and Noelle Pikus-Pace, who both earned silver medals in the Winter Olympics. As an assistant baseball coach, he helped develop players such as former BYU assistant Ryan Roberts, Los Angeles Dodger and Yankees player Mitch Jones, Angels player Casey Child and Salt Lake Community College coach D.G. Nelson.
As head coach at Lone Peak, his girls’ soccer team took home three second-place state finishes and three league titles. His baseball teams captured one state title, finished second once and won region twice.
These resulted in some nice honors over the years, including winning Utah Softball Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2000, Utah High School Soccer Coach of the Year and Salt Lake Tribune Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year in 2001. The Daily Herald named him Baseball Coach of the Year in 2008 and one of the top 100 People in the State of Utah in 2007. He was the Daily Herald Baseball Coach of the Year in 2010 and the Utah High School Coaches association Coach of the Year in 2010.
He and his wife Susan live in Highland. They are parents of Kamden and Trevor, and grandparents to two grandsons Ziggy and Sunny. LaHargoue attended BYU with post graduate work at Grand Canyon University. He is currently an adaptive PE teacher for the Alpine School District.
“I want to surround myself with quality assistant coaches who can help out,” he said. “This is not my show. I rely on them to help me out a lot.”
Only an elite few Utah swimming coaches can match the success of Steve Marsing, who found success in 10 years at Skyline, 15 years at Hunter and 8 years at Wasatch.
In his 33 years as a prep coach, Marsing won four state men’s swimming championships, one women’s swimming title, 10 state men’s and women’s water polo championships and 21 women’s and 17 men’s region titles.
Marsing, who now lives in Francis, graduated from Kearns High School and the University of Utah. He did post graduate work at BYU and Utah. He formerly served as the athletic administrator for Hunter and Wasatch High Schools and currently serves as the Swim Director for the UHSAA.
He has been honored with numerous awards recognizing his illustrious career. These include the1999 National women’s Swim Coach of the Year; the1999 and 2011 Section 7 Men’s Swim Coach of the Year; the USCA Coach of the Year 12 times, the 2011 UHSAA Men’s Coach of the Year, and the 2012 NISCA Outstanding Service Award. As athletic director, Steve received the 2008 UIAAA State Award of Merit.
Marsing served for over 30 years as the Utah High School State Swim Meet Director and over 15 years as the Utah State Water Polo Tournament director. He spent a term as the coaches’ representative at the USA local swim board and
served two terms as the Utah Swim Coaches Association President.
Steve served one term as President of the UIAAA and multiple terms on the UIAAA ADEC board.
Marsing and his wife of 45 years, Susan, are parents to Shawn, Chad, Ashley and Tyler. Steve and his wife are enjoying every moment with their 9 grandchildren.
The best way to describe Lee Mitchell is that he was a pioneer for Utah high school soccer. And he was pretty darned successful in that capacity.
“Mitchell is a pioneer in the sport of soccer,” Utah High School Activities Association Executive Director Rob Cuff told Ron Bevan of City Journals. “He is a great ambassador to high school sports. His impact and influence on soccer in Utah will never be forgotten.”
Mitchell was the only soccer coach at Alta High School for 35 years. He coached boys and girls teams from their start as recognized high school sports in 1983 and 1989.
During that illustrious career, Mitchell won eight boys’ titles and eight girls’ titles. At one point, he captured a record four straight girls’ championships. The now retired coach was inducted into the Utah High School Activities Association’s Circle of Fame in 2020. He leads the state in total wins with 427 on the boys’ side and 414 girls’ victories.
Mitchell had never coached soccer when taking over Alta’s program. “We figured it out as we went,” he told Bevan. “I had a learning curve I had to go through. The first few years were rough.”
Mitchell built his programs on the principles of hard work, cohesiveness, respect and integrity. With many soccer players coming from club and comp teams, that cohesiveness was probably his biggest challenge.
In the end, Mitchell will always be known as one of the pioneers of Utah High School soccer.
Mitchell and his wife Kim have 6 children, Kelli (deceased), Ashley, Jessica, Elijah, Kaden and Mason.
In November of 2003, legendary Box Elder High School wrestling coach Mike Ripplinger was recognized on the floor of the United States Congress as an “Everyday Hero.” The hundreds of young men he mentored in 32 years of coaching at the Brigham City school would likely add a hearty “Amen” to that accolade.
Ripplinger’s record speaks for itself. He won six state wrestling titles and finished second 13 other times. He coached the Bees to 25 region championships. His wrestlers won 58 individual state titles while another 298 finished in the top 6 state places. Nineteen of his athletes captured all-American honors.
These accomplishments earned him Utah Wrestling Coach of the Year honors seven times. He was the National Wrestling Coach of the Year in 2005 and was four times the Western Regional Wrestling Coach of the Year. He was inducted into the Utah Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.
Ripplinger also gave back to the sport he loved. He served six years as the USA Utah State Kids Wrestling Director and is a past president of the Utah Wrestling Coaches Association. The veteran coach also was a star in the classroom, being named Box Elder Teacher of the Year during the 2017-2018 school year.
Mike told Patrick Carr at the Ogden Standard Examiner in an interview when he retired, “Good support from family, my wife had to be really patient, she’s just a rock-solid support. I’ve had great assistants, so they’ve taken quite a bit of the
work. It’s a great community. A lot of good support.”
The native of Driggs, Idaho, is married to Tracey Kay. They are the parents of Britney Tyger, Brandon, Matthew, Holly Mellor and Kaylee Gutke. Ripplinger, who graduated from Ricks College and Weber State University, retired in 2018.
Cindy Stuart seemed an unlikely person to become the winningest high school volleyball coach in Utah history.
She was a basketball player in high school and college. Her basketball playing days took her to UNLV, where her team destroyed Utah State by almost 100 points in 1977. That resulted in her being offered a job as the Aggies’ women’s basketball coach when she was 21.
According to a 2019 story on her retirement by KSL, Stuart coached the Aggies from 1978 to She met her husband, the late Bill Stuart, a cattle rancher who took her to tiny Randolph.
She was approached about coaching volleyball, not basketball. “They wanted me to coach their volleyball and I said ‘well I don’t even know how to keep score in volleyball.’” She was a quick study.
Coaching at tiny Rich High School, with a short stint at Evanston, Wyo., Stuart put together quite a record. From 1986 through 2018, she recorded 722 wins and 15 state championships. Those titles included four straight with her daughter Sammi.
In the KSL story, she credited BYU men’s coach Carl McGown for being a mentor. And, yes, Stuart also got a chance to coach girls’ basketball at Rich, taking the head job for four years.
Since retiring from coaching, Cindy has continued teaching both high school and elementary school kids. “Other than that,” she told KSL, “I’m probably going to help the grandkids and the calves.”
Cindy and the late Bill Stuart are the parents of Sammie, Louie and spouse Chelsie, Tyler and spouse Kylee and Parker and spouse Katie. They have 10 grandchildren.
A graduate of Weber High School and Weber State University, Roger Buhrley became synonymous with high school track and field in Utah during his coaching career.
As a head coach and assistant coach in track and cross country, he was involved in 12 state championships. In his 21 years at Davis High School, he built a dominant program from a modest starting point. His first state title is the most memorable, leading him to reflect in a Deseret News story, “I got a lot of satisfaction out of that one. I thought, maybe I’m not as a big a ‘loser’ coach as I thought.”
The rest of the track and field world would view him as a big winner in a sport where he once was described as “a world-class track geek.” Roger was inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2011.
He not only loved the sport, but also those who participated in it. “I’ve never met anyone who is so concerned about kids,” said Corbin Talley, a former assistant to Roger. “And he has no ego. He hasn’t been in it for himself.”
The Salt Lake Tribune once labeled Roger “a beloved coach who built a model program at Davis.” Talley succeeded Roger as Davis’ head coach and has extended the Darts’ dynasty in the past 12 years.
The rewards of coaching were great for Roger, revolving around the feedback he received from former athletes. Those endorsements were missing from his history teaching career. As he said, “I don’t recall getting a letter from anyone about my lecture on the Industrial Revolution.” He thought it was a great presentation, just the same.
Roger taught and coached for seven years at North Layton Junior High, two years at Clearfield High, 21 years at Davis, eight years at the newly built Syracuse High and two years at Northridge High. His long list of successful athletes includes Paralympics star Hunter Woodhall.
Roger is a former president of the Utah High School Track and Field Coaches Association and served for four years on the National Federation of High Schools Track and Field Rules Committee. He was the NFHS Section 7 Coach of the Year in both boys and girls track. In Utah, he was known for decades a the go-to person for the media, fellow coaches and anyone interested in keeping up with meets, records and other developments in the sport.
In retirement, Roger lives in Huntsville.
A graduate of Judge Memorial and the University of Utah, John Colosimo launched the football program of Juan Diego Catholic High School in Draper and won a state record-tying eight state championships.
Those titles came in a 16-year period, while John’s success extended throughout his 21-season tenure as the school’s football coach. He won 80% of his games. Adding his record as Judge Memorial’s coach, he ranks No. 4 all-time in Utah high school coaching with 234 victories.
Beyond that, Juan Diego former athletic director Chris Long once said, “The things the metrics cannot see is the love John’s players had for him and the respect that his fellow coaches have for him.”
One of those opponents, Morgan High coach Kovi Christiansen, told the Draper Journal, “John epitomizes everything that is special about a high school and an example of the type of coach that is fleeing far too fast from high school athletics.”
John thrived with an old-school offensive approach. His veer scheme used five basic plays, Long noted. Defenses may have known what was coming, but that didn’t mean they could stop it, as Juan Diego’s offense tormented opponents with a methodical, ball-control style. On the other side, as operated by John’s brother Joe, the Soaring Eagle defense had a knack for taking away the opponents’ best players.
The result was sustained success, as reflected by 17 region championships between the two schools, including 12 in a row. Juan Diego’s eight state titles included two “three-peats.”
The National Federation of High School Coaches Association recognized John in 2004, and in 2014, the Utah Chapter of the National Football Foundation honored him for his service to high school football. In his acceptance speech, as quoted by The Salt Lake Tribune, John reminded the athletes being recognized that evening to “think about the people who make you look good.”
John’s involvement in education began as a substitute teacher in his college days and has continued for nearly a half-century. In addition to football, he has coached boys and girls basketball and served as an athletic director.
The Colosimo family was instrumental in the founding of Juan Diego in Draper. John’s influence continues to extend far beyond football in his role as the school’s academic vice principal. John and his wife, Kathie, live in Sandy and are parents of three children, all products of Catholic education who are involved in college athletics in Utah.
A graduate of Judge Memorial Catholic High School, Gil Cordova presided over the Bulldogs’ golden era of football.
In a span of seven seasons from 1969-75, the former Judge quarterback coached the Bulldogs to six appearances in state championship games, winning three titles. His unbeaten team of ‘72 is considered one of the best in Utah history and Gil’s program is among five schools that have played in five consecutive title games, according to prep football historian George Felt.
After coaching at Judge for 11 years, Gil led the programs at Kearns High and Skyline High for two seasons each, completing a career that produced 37 all-state players.
His sons Anthony and James were multisport athletes for Judge in the 1980s and James joined his father as a winner of multiple state titles as football coaches at their alma mater. That gives the father-son duo a distinction in the state’s high school football annals. John Colosimo, Juan Diego Catholic High School’s highly successful coach, also played for Gil at Judge.
A strong believer in Judge’s educational mission, Gil received a “Super Fan” award from the Utah High School Activities Association in 2016 for his support of a third generation of Cordova athletes at the school.
He’s known to espouse this motto: “You can lose a lot of things in life, but never can you lose an education.”
Having grown up in the Bingham and Rose Park areas before graduating from Judge, Gil played football at Westminster College and in the U.S. Army and then launched his teaching and coaching career, specializing in world history. He pursued graduate studies in psychology at Westminster, learning techniques that he would apply to coaching.
He was known to evoke heroes and giants from Greek mythology to inspire his players, always looking for a motivation edge. As he told the Intermountain Catholic, “We weren’t always the biggest or the fastest, but we played smart. All of us coaches wanted our players, no matter the sport, to be students of the game.”
His son Anthony said recently, “He inspired players to believe in one another to believe in themselves. Gil believed in the transformative power of high school sports to build character, tenacity, teamwork and community.”
A resident of Salt Lake City, Gil remains a big fan of high school sports in the state, especially the Bulldogs.
California native Gail Meakins won a total of 10 state swimming championships, while coaching the boys and girls teams of Park City High School and Judge Memorial Catholic High School.
Her six girls titles came via two “three-peats,” one at each school. She also won three boys championship at Judge, following her one title at Park City.
Her athletes were adaptable, as illustrated by Park City’s outdoor pool workouts in the winter, with no indoor facility available. In a Deseret News story that mentioned how she warned swimmers about ice on the deck, she said having to use an outdoor pool “doesn’t seem to hurt us, but it does make us unusual.”
So did her swimmers’ success, at each school. Just as rewarding as those state championships, she hoped, were the life lessons learned through the habit of getting into the water every day and putting in the work.
“Positive attitude, individual discipline, self-confidence and teamwork” were among those benefits, she said, as swimmers “thrived in the synergy of being part of a team.”
Beyond the trophies, Gail said, “The absolute joy and pride on the face of a swimmer who just improved their time or exceeded their expectations is a memory I will never forget.”
Gail was a five-time state Coach of the Year, between the girls and boys programs at the two schools. She served the sport as a two-time president of the Utah Swimming Coaches Association and maintained the USCA website and list of swimmers’ top times for six seasons.
She went from Judge to Cornell University as an assistant coach in a move that made the Bulldog swimmers lament losing her, but they understood the allure of an Ivy League school. As one swimmer said, “We miss our old coach, but who could blame her? I mean, Cornell?”
Her relatively short tenures at the Utah schools make her impact even more impressive.
A graduate of Sacramento State, Gail completed postgraduate work at the University of California in Berkeley and the University of Utah. Her own swimming career continued well beyond her college years, as she dominated the Utah Summer Games in the 1990s. She remains an avid swimmer, runner and hiker.
Gail and her husband Mark are parents of a daughter and son and live in Huntsville, where her background in urban planning led her to become the chair of the Ogden Valley Land Trust.
New Mexico native Alaina Parker coached Snow Canyon High School volleyball teams to six state championships, sharing some of those memorable moments with her daughters, star players Ciara and Alexsa.
No one enjoyed any Snow Canyon match more than her son, the late Camden Parker, a special-needs person who is remembered as the Warriors’ biggest fan.
Camden would “light up whenever ‘his girls’ ran into the gym or onto the court,” Alaina said. “They brought him so much joy.”
Having attended New Mexico Highlands University, Alaina took over Snow Canyon’s volleyball program in 2001 and coached through 2015 at the St. George school, where she continued to teach social studies.
She was a five-time Coach of the Year as recognized by the Utah Volleyball Coaches Association, received a Distinguished Service Award from the Utah High School Activities Association and was inducted into the Snow Canyon High School Coaches Hall of Fame.
Alaina’s teams were known for being fundamentally sound and having fun on the court. “I always tried to reiterate to them that we need to be able to do the ‘boring” stuff really well,” she said. “We also laughed a lot in our gym. It is important for kids to be able to understand that there is fun and humor in sports. Too often, we are so afraid of how we will look in front of our peers that we get too uptight to perform.”
A former player once said of the team’s culture, “Warrior volleyball is a program where you can bring anyone from anywhere and teach them the skills and fundamentals they need.”
Morgan High’s victory in the 2015 state title match kept Alaina from having a perfect ending of her career. Yet while racking up those six state championships, she posted a 355-84 record, winning eight region titles, sending 23 players to collegiate volleyball and coaching two Gatorade Players of the Year in Utah. Actually, she gave birth to each of those star players: Ciara, who went on to play for BYU, and Alexsa (known widely by her nickname of “Crash”), who played at New Mexico State and Saint Mary’s.
Honored prior to her final regular-season match, Alaina was thrilled that so many former Snow Canyon players were in attendance. She was especially happy “to see that they’re good moms and good people,” she told the Spectrum. “At the end of the day that’s what matters.”
Alaina and her husband, Jeffery, live in Santa Clara, Utah.
A graduate of Bountiful High School and Weber State University, Dave Wigham won a combined six state championships with the Bountiful girls and boys soccer programs.
Dave is the only soccer coach to have won state titles in Class 3A, 4A and 5A. He also posted three runner-up finishes, while winning more than 80 percent of his games and sending over 150 players on to college programs.
He won boys state championships in 1991 and ‘93 and girls titles in 1996, 2000, ‘03 and ‘06 at Bountiful before taking over the Viewmont High boys team.
Dave’s BHS girls program became a big success, from a starting point of fielding a team with only two girls who had played competitive soccer. Before long, it was difficult even for players with soccer experience to make the Braves’ varsity, with high expectations on the state level. As he once said, “It’s never been our goal to just win region.”
Dave always credited youth programs in Bountiful for helping develop players, while he further nurtured the skills of players such as Colton Cook, Lucas Cawley and Caroline Putz, a two-time Parade All-American.
In the process, he did everything he could to enhance the Davis County soccer legacy of his father, Hugh, who moved his family from London to Utah in the early 1960s when Dave was a child. “He taught me a passion for the game,” Dave told the Deseret News. “He had a passion for the game that very few had.”
The late Hugh Wigham was the first inductee into the Utah Soccer Hall of Fame. That recognition celebrated the growth of the sport in Davis County, which went from modest beginnings in soccer to claiming the highest per-capita participation rate in the nation. Among Dave’s tributes to his father was always naming his youth squads the “Gunners,” the nickname of Arsenal, Hugh’s favorite team in England – even though Dave preferred rival Chelsea.
Before channeling his efforts into coaching and teaching, Dave was known as a tireless promoter of high school sports coaches and athletes in his coverage area as a writer for the Davis County Clipper. He cared about how those teams were perceived around the state.
He later became involved with Real Salt Lake when the Major League Soccer expansion club came to town, and he was thrilled that his father was able to witness RSL’s home opener in 2005.
Dave and his wife, Annette, are parents of three children and live in St. George.
—No honorees from 2020-21 due to COVID-19–
A graduate of Beaver High School and Southern Utah University, Calvin Albrecht coached Beaver’s boys track and field team to six state championships and the basketball team to four state titles. He also won a state cross country championship and was an assistant for five football title teams.
Calvin was a Beaver assistant basketball coach for eight years and the head coach for 20 years. In those two decades, his teams made 18 state tournament appearances and won eight region championships to go with the four state titles (including the school’s first basketball championship in 1983). Those championships were spread over 20 seasons, with the last one coming in 2002.
His second state title is especially memorable. The roster included his son Clint, and Calvin said, “It was such a fun year, because no one cared who got the glory. Every player was unselfish and kept the ultimate goal in mind.” Having five scorers average in double figures is highly unusual for a high school team, and that’s what distinguished that Beaver squad.
The Beavers posted seven other top-four finishes and Calvin recorded 351 victories. In his 29 years as head track coach, Calvin won six state titles and his teams finished second twice. Calvin will always remember an invitational meet where he encouraged a runner who usually finished far back in the pack, hoping the boy could add a point or two to the team total. With a finishing kick, he finished eighth, and the point he scored made the difference. “This race not only made his day, but his season,” Calvin said. “From that day forward, he had so much more confidence. He never won a race, but he knew he was a contributing member of his team, a part of something greater than himself. Sometimes it just takes believing in a kid to help them achieve what they didn’t think they could. Every coach has those cherished moments.”
Calvin was inducted into the Beaver High Teacher Hall of Fame and the SUU Coaching Factory Hall of Fame. He was a two-time Class 2A Basketball Coach of the Year and earned a similar honor in track and field. A farmer and rancher, Calvin and his wife Bonnie Sue are parents of seven children and live in Minersville.
A graduate of Escalante High School and Utah State University, Bryan Griffin coached the Richfield High boys cross country and track and field teams to 11 state championships. An a Escalante runner, Bryan established school records in the 880 and the mile that were never broken. He became a junior college All-American at the College of Eastern Utah, where he’s a member of the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Bryan began his coaching career at Bonneville High in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and moved to Ben Lomond High in 1987 as the girls cross country and track and field coach. In 1991, he went to Richfield, where he built a boys track and field dynasty that started in the early 2000s, after he initially coached the girls teams. His boys cross country teams claimed state titles in the fall of ’02, ’05, ’06, ’08 and ’12. His boys track teams won state championships in the spring of 2003, ’04, ’06, ’07, ’09 and ’13. Between them, Bryan’s teams won 25 consecutive region titles, beginning in 2012. He collected seven state second-place finishes and 35 region championships, while his athletes continually broke school records. More than two dozen athletes went on to compete in college.
“I loved running with my cross country kids,” Bryan said. “I always told them I would never give them a workout, I wasn’t willing to do myself.” He added, “Some of my best memories were not always the region and state titles, but watching some of the less gifted athletes exceed mine and their own expectations. Ever since high school, I have been surrounded by great people and coaches whom I admire and respect. I was taught by the best and coached against the best, and will be forever grateful for all they did for me.” Among the honors Bryan has received are the Utah Class 2A Boys Track and Field Coach of the Year award in 2005 and ’09, the Utah Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year award in ’09 and the West Sectional Track and Field Coach of the Year in ’09 award from the National Federation of High Schools.
Bryan is known for the hours he spent preparing for and staging track meets, including the annual Nyle Norris Invitational and the Richfield Relays, as well as region championships hosted by the school. A two-time participant in the Boston Marathon, Bryan and his wife, Sue, are parents of five children and live in Richfield. Each of his three girls and two boys competed for his Richfield teams.
A graduate of Delta High School and Southern Utah University, Ladd Holman coached nine consecutive state championship wrestling teams.
As a wrestler and coach, Ladd has been involved in the sport since 1965. Even now, with his primary occupation as a cattle rancher, he describes himself as “a grandpa wrestling coach.” Ladd wrestled for Delta as a member of four state championship teams, setting the stage for his coaching career. He coached at Millard High for seven years and Delta for 12 years, compiling a phenomenal record. He coached 54 individual state champions, 34 runners-up and 61 third- or fourth-place finishers.
Delta’s domination was reflected in 1986 when the Rabbits had nine state champions in the 12 weight classes. In 1990, Delta claimed seven individual titles. In addition to those nine straight team championships (1985-93), two of Ladd’s teams finished second. He credits assistant coaches Dave Wankier, Joe Morris, Kevin Singleton and Paul Pilkington for his success, along with many supportive wrestling families and his own coaches in high school and college that served as good examples of caring about their wrestlers.
Many of his former wrestlers are either coaching or having their own sons pursuing the sport. In Ladd’s case, four grandsons are wrestlers and his son Joel is Juab High’s coach, having led the Wasps to three consecutive state championships of his own (while working as an orthopedic surgeon). Joel told The Daily Herald that he tries to convey the same values with his wrestlers that he learned in his father’s Delta program.
The family enjoyed a great moment in 2018 when Ladd was inducted into the Utah High School Activities Association Circle of Fame, the night when Joel’s Juab team won a state title (coincidentally, beating Class 3A newcomer Delta). Ladd was honored six times as the Utah Wrestling Coach of the Year and was named the 1990 UHSAA Coach of the Year. He has been inducted into the Utah Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Having retired from teaching and coaching, Ladd lives with his wife, Margo (they’re parents of four children), in the small Millard County town of Leamington. In a Deseret News story about the town, Ladd once contrasted the buzz of a high school environment to his current job by obsreving, “I shut the truck off and the cows were eating hay in the snow there, and I could hear their jaws munching. It’s that quiet.”
A graduate of Cyprus High School and Southern Utah University, Dave Peck turned Bingham High’s football program into a state and national power. Dave coached the Miners to five state championships at Utah’s highest level, while appearing in the championship game or the semifinals 10 times. His 2014 team was ranked No. 8 by USA Today and played in the inaugural State Champions Bowl Series in Florida and his 2010 team finished No. 4 nationally.
His career started at Grace High School in Idaho. He then became the head football and baseball coach at North Sanpete HS in Mt. Pleasant. Dave moved to Bingham as an assistant football coach in 1985. After a stop at Hunter High, he became Cyprus’ head coach in 1995 before going back to Bingham as head coach in 2000.
In 15 seasons with the Miners, Dave posted a 154-38 record and was a driving force in Utah high school football’s becoming nationally recognized. As a result, The Salt Lake Tribune named him one of the 25 Most Influential People in Utah Sports. He coached in the first high school football game played in the Dallas Cowboys’ new stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Dave was inducted into the SUU Coaches Hall of Fame in 2015, when he also received the National Football Foundation-Utah Chapter’s annual award for outstanding contribution to amateur football. Other recognition has included South Jordan City’s Hero Award in 2010, the Utah High School Activities Association’s Class 5A All-Sports Coach of the Year Award in 2009 and the Bingham Teacher of the Year in 2008-09.
When Peck retired from Bingham High School, he wrote in his resignation speech: “I have always looked at our players and managers like they were my own sons and daughters,” I wanted every one of them to feel important whether they were all-staters or never hardly played at all. I always felt that we could build this program into a state power, but never dreamed that we would have the national recognition that has come our way.”
One of Dave’s favorite sayings is, “Help as many people get what they want out of life, and you will eventually get what you want out of life.” That has proven true in his case, many times over.
Dave returned to the sideline in 2016 as North Sanpete’s defensive coordinator, helping his nephew, Rhett Bird. Dave and his wife, Christy, are parents of four children and live in Fairview.
A graduate of Tooele High School and the University of Utah, Mel Roberts coached Tooele’s boys and girls swim teams for nearly 50 years. In his 49-year tenure from 1969 to 2017, Mel coached his teams to 11 state championships and 43 region titles. He compiled more than 1,000 combined victories, with a 549-103 record in boys meets and a 463-96 record in girls meets for an overall winning percentage of .784.
Mel coached six All-Americans and 42 scholastic All-Americans and was a two-time Coach of the Year as selected by the National High School Coaches Association, for girls in 2010 and for boys in 2017. He’s the only coach honored for both the boys and girls divisions. Internationally, Mel coached the U.S. boys team in the Moscow Youth Games in 2003. Nationally, he has held several positions in the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association, including president, editor, state delegate, zone director, All-American clearinghouse, education chair and awards chair. He was inducted into the NISCA Hall of Fame in 2010 and served on the National Federation Swimming and Diving Rules Committee for four years.
In Utah, he was inducted into the Utah Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Hall of Fame in 2010, was president of the Utah Swimming Coaches Association for 10 years and was the secretary/treasurer for 19 years. Mel was shaped by his legendary swim coaches, Leigh Pratt at Tooele High and Don Reddish at Utah.
In the late stages of his coaching career, he reflected, “Coaches have such an influence on swimmers; they teach things that can’t be taught anywhere else. We teach kids more than just how to swim fast, we teach them about life. It’s a fantastic feeling when kids come back years after they have graduated to thank you for everything you’ve taught them.” He added, “I never had a desire to move to a college coaching position. I have stayed in the one place for so long because I grew up here and Tooele is a huge part of my life.”
One of his former swimmers, Stuart Smith, told the SwimTopia website, “Mel did a good job empowering the older swimmers to be leaders, there was a real cohesiveness to the team. Mel fostered the kind of camaraderie where we lifted each other.”
Mel and his wife, Gwen, are parents of 13 children and live in Tpoele.
A graduate of Viewmont High School and the University of Utah, Larry Wall defied a trend in his profession by coaching Bountiful High’s football team for 31 seasons.
In an era when high school coaching tenures are becoming shorter, due to the demands of the job, Larry stayed with the Braves for more than three decades. When he stepped down after the 2015 season, he was recognized as Utah’s second-winningest prep coach in history with a 238-116 record. Bountiful won four state championships, in pairs: in 1990 and ’91, and then in 2002 and ’03.
Larry was an outstanding defensive end for Utah in the 1970s. He began his coaching and teaching career in 1979 at age 23 and stayed with the profession until retiring from teaching in 2018.
Some of his recognition includes a Distinguished Service Award from the Utah High School Activities Association in 1992, a Bountiful Rotary Club Distinguished Educator Award and an acknowledgment of contributions to youth football in Hermosillo Sonora, Mexico. He also was a two-time winner of the Officials Association Sportsmanship Award and received a Davis School District Hall of Fame Award.
When he left coaching, Larry reflected on his Bountiful experience in a Salt Lake Tribune story. “I’ve lived a charmed life here,” he said. “It’s been awesome. We’ve tried to do the right things and do it the right way. I tried to put the kids first and not some of the other things that creep in there, and I think, for the most part, we were successful in doing that.”
In the Deseret News, Larry said, “It’s a great community here, great school. Great administrators that support us and support me. We’ve built a really great tradition here, with that tradition we just tried to build on that every year. I think the guys learn from the previous group that came through, and then you have some stability.”
As former player Landon Layton once said, “Coach Wall bases everything on tradition. He is really old fashioned and isn’t one to go off and try new stuff when the old stuff is working. He really focuses on us playing Bountiful football, and everything else will take care of business. It’s fun to play for a program where you know they have that tradition and it’s all thanks to coach Wall.”
Larry and his wife, Connie, are parents of three children and live in Bountiful.
A graduate of Morgan High School and Utah State University, Jim Wiscombe played for a state championship basketball team in Morgan and then coached the Trojans to consecutive state titles 40 years later.
Jim was named the Class 3A MVP for an unbeaten (24-0) Morgan team coached by the late Ron Abegglen in 1974, while also playing football and baseball for the Trojans. He played basketball and baseball for the College of Eastern Utah before graduating from Utah State.
His first coaching and teaching job was at Delta High School, where he worked with the football, basketball and baseball teams in various roles. He went home to Morgan in 1987 and was the head basketball coach for 24 years, while teaching Spanish and then becoming the school’s head counselor. He also was Morgan’s athletic director for five years. Jim took three years off from coaching to complete a master’s degree, then returned to the sideline for 13 more seasons.
In addition to his state championships in 2013 and ’14, concluding his coaching career, Jim won 10 region titles, including two runs of four championships in a row. Two of his teams were state runners-up, two other teams were unbeaten going into the state tournament, and he won the last 35 region games of his career. He was named the Wilbur Braithwaite 3A Coach of the Year three times and received a Distinguished Service Award from the Utah High School Activities Association in 2013.
When he stepped down as Morgan’s coach, Jim praised his players in a Deseret News article, saying, “They’ve been great to work with, they’re great kids. They’re there to learn, they’re there to improve, it’s just a great teaching environment. I’ve learned more from the kids than I’ve ever taught them. You learn a lot from high school kids.” He also said, “It’s been fun, had a lot of great experience with great kids, and I’ll miss the experience. We’ll move on and try and do something else.”
Jim and his wife, Liz, are parents of three children and live in Morgan, after he grew up on a farm with nine siblings in the tiny Morgan County town of Richville, where he said his love of work was created. He continues to serve as an MHS counselor. In January 2019, the Morgan County News spotlighted him as a school employee of the month.
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.
Roger J. Pyper
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.
A graduate of Piute High School and Brigham Young University, Kerry Anderson coached Wayne High School’s wrestling and track teams for 39 years and won a Utahrecord 16 state wrestling championships. Kerry also coached the Badgers to seven state titles, including six in a row, in girls track and field. He once said, “Time spent in sports cannot be deducted from a man’s life.” If that’s true, he still has many years ahead of him in retirement as a Distinguished High School coach as bestowed by the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Foundation.
Kerry also was quoted, “High school activities are the other half of education. They teach you how to stick with something when times get tough.” All sports require dedication and commitment, but those words are especially true of wrestling. Kerry coached 99 individual state champions and 24 All-Americans.
His own sons accounted for 11 of those state titles. In the 1998 state meet, Wayne sent 10 wrestlers into championship matches, an amazing display of depth. In addition to the Badgers’ 16 state championships on the mat, which included a memorable run of eight titles in 10 years, Kerry’s teams finished second eight times. Wayne won 20 region titles. As he once said, “The kids take a lot of pride in keeping the tradition going.”
Kerry also is credited with launching Wayne’s successful baseball program, coaching for 20 seasons and producing many all-region and all-state players, and he got the Badgers’ softball team started, coaching for two years. He served as Wayne’s athletic director for 27 years. Some of the names in the Salina native’s coaching tree include George Chappell, Brian Pace, Rhett Jeffrey, Mitch Stevens and Blake Turner.
A 24-time Utah Wrestling Coach of the Year honoree, Kerry has been widely recognized. In 2003, he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in a class that included Fred Davis, his coach at BYU. He was selected by the Utah Wrestling Hall of Fame the previous year and, more recently, has been honored in the Utah High School Activities Circle of Fame and the Southern Utah University Circle of Fame. Kerry was a longtime Utah Cadet and Junior National wrestling team coach and accompanied the 1996 USA National Greco-Roman team to Slovenia.
Parents of four sons, Kerry and his wife, Sherrie, live in Loa.
An Arkansas native and a graduate of Arkansas Tech, Don Hall made an impact at Ogden High School as a Junior ROTC instructor and coach of the Tigers’ track and field and cross country teams for nearly a quarter-century. His move to OHS followed a 21-year career of active duty with the U.S. Army, prior to his retirement as a lieutenant colonel.
Don held assistant coaching positions in football and baseball before taking over the Tigers’ track program. His teams won 11 state championships and posted 20 other top-four finishes. He’s credited with elevating the Tigers’ running program to the highest levels in the state, region and country. Don was known for recruiting the hallways of OHS, personally inviting students to try running. Stories are told of some students hustling into their classrooms to avoid his persuasive pitches, so he accomplished something in the process, regardless of whether he attracted more runners into his program. “Some coaches are of the attitude that if (students) want to do it they will come out, but running isn’t always easy, so I go to them,” Don once said. He also was known for his motivational speeches that tended to be lengthy, always ending with, “Hallelujah and Amen!”
Don has produced many Division I athletes and many families have had three or more athletes advance through his program. He believes that running teaches life lessons such as discipline, commitment and determination, and his runners have said Don’s military background helped him as a coach, holding his athletes to standards of consistency. In an interview with the Standard-Examiner when he was inducted into the Ogden High School Hall of Fame, Don said, “I was really blessed with an incredibly great group of athletes. Great athletes make great coaches.” Alydia Barton, who assisted him for 10 years, said Don’s influence went well beyond the track: “He took the time to make a difference in their lives.” In turn, Barton is one of many assistants and administrators whom he credits for contributing to the program’s success.
In Utah, Don was recognized as Coach of the Year in both boys and girls cross country. He also was a two-time West Sectional “Coach of the Year,” as honored by the National Federation of State High Schools Coaches Association.
Parents of three children, Don and his wife, Kristine, live in the Weber County town of Uintah.
A graduate of Gunnison Valley High School, Danny Hill spent 42 years working at the school in central Utah and coached basketball for 32 seasons. Danny’s Bulldogs won four basketball state championships, all in the 1970s. He also coached Gunnison to four state baseball titles during his 19 years as coach and he served as the school’s athletic director for 12 years.
His basketball teams also posted a secondplace finish, while making four more semifinal appearances and earning seven other top-eight placements. He retired with records of 422-311 in basketball and 182-39 in baseball. His basketball and baseball teams played for a combined nine state championships and won eight of those games. Danny was so well regarded in the basketball coaching profession in Utah that three different coaches chose him to assist them in all-star games. No wonder he’s being honored as a Distinguished High School Coach by the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Foundation.
In 2016, Danny was inducted into the Gunnison High School Athletic Hall of Fame as a coach and athletic director. The school now stages the Danny Hill Invitational Basketball Tournament every December. In 2010, he received an Outstanding Service and Achievement Award from the Gunnison Alumni Association. He also has been recognized by the Jaycees, locally and statewide.
As a Gunnison student, Danny was a teammate of his cousin, Gary Hill, who still holds the Utah high school basketball all-time scoring record of 2,283 points. When Danny started teaching and coaching in 1970, he emphasized education for his athletes. He always believed that players who were successful in the classroom would thrive on the basketball court and the baseball field. The Bulldogs also dressed sharply and followed the rules he established for them. For all basketball games, players wore shirts and ties, slacks and dress shoes – no jeans, T-shirts, earrings or caps during the basketball season.
Hill’s Gunnison High teams were known for representing the school well and receiving compliments about their behavior from custodians, principals and other observers for being conscientious and behaving well. It has been said that his players always left “the school, the gym floor, dressing room, bus, restaurants and motel rooms better than they found them.” In retirement, Danny is a volunteer for the Mission Care Center, a nursing home and community living rehabilitation facility, in the nearby town of Centerfield.
Parents of five children, Danny and his wife, Mary, live in Mayfield.
A graduate of Spanish Fork High School and Southern Utah University, Jim Nelson won six state championships as Spanish Fork’s baseball coach. Commonly known by his nickname of “Shoe,” he coached the Dons to a winning record in each of his 29 seasons. As he once observed, “The only one who calls me Jim is my wife (Patsy), and then only if she is mad at me.” About that nickname: It stems from his older siblings trying to “shoo” him away when he wanted to join their games. In any case, for the purposes of this formal occasion of being recognized as a Distinguished High School Coach by the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, he’s “Jim.”
The school has retired Jim’s No. 25 and Spanish Fork City has named the baseball park Nelson Field, in honor of his family. With a 572-183 record, he ranks No. 2 among baseball coaches in Utah high school history and first in wins at one school. His six state titles came in four decades and three classifications. The Dons also finished second three times, third eight times and fourth five times, while posting a 94-44 record in state tournament play in his tenure (and appearing in the tournament for all 29 seasons). In 2009-14, Spanish Fork won 55 consecutive region games, contributing to Jim’s total of 17 region championships.
The sport is big in Spanish Fork, obviously. The city’s youth programs long have been a model in Utah County, contributing to the remarkable consistency of the high school program. “Baseball is and will always be king in this community,” Jim said in a Salt Lake Tribune story.
And he perpetuated the town’s success, while earning a National Coach of the Year award from the American Baseball Coaches Association in 2011, when the Dons were ranked as high as No. 2 nationally. Jim has been inducted into Halls of Fame by SUU, Nebo School District and Mountain West Baseball.
While he sent more than 80 players into collegiate programs, his impact went beyond baseball. Jade Nielsen, the catcher on his last team in 2014, said, “He teaches you to be a better person. Coach always says that if you are a better person in school and in the community, you will be a better person on the field.” Jim initially was an assistant baseball coach at Spanish Fork and also helped with football and basketball.
Parents of four children, Jim and his wife, Patsy, live in Spanish Fork, where he still works at the ballpark.
A graduate of Tooele High School and Brigham Young University, Glen Partridge enjoyed a distinguished high school coaching career highlighted by a state-record seven consecutive state track and field championships at two schools. Glen coached Delta to state titles in 1973 and ’74 and then moved to North Sevier, where his boys teams won championships from ’75-’79. In all, Glen earned 10 state titles and seven second-place finishes while coaching at Delta, North Sevier and Panguitch.
“When I began as an educator in 1970, little did I know there would be so many surprises in store,” Glen said. “I had only wanted to teach in the classroom.” Delta High School’s coaches steered him into athletics. “Thus began a remarkable journey through (Delta) and other schools, while gaining mentors along the way,” he said.
In addition to his credentials as a head coach in boys track, he assisted five state championship teams in girls track at North Sevier. In cross country, his boys or girls teams finished second in the state three times. In wrestling, his North Sevier team was a state runner-up. In football, he coached the Wolves to 16 playoff appearances, including nine semifinal games. And in basketball, he was a head coach or assistant for five state championships and four second-place finishes at Delta, North Sevier and Panguitch. Add it all up, and Glen was involved in 20 state championships, 15 second-place finishes and 35 region titles in various sports at the three schools. He coached more than 250 individual state champions or all-state selections.
Glen’s level of success in such a broad spectrum may be unmatched in Utah coaching history. He’s thankful to so many coaches who have influenced him, or whom he “pestered to glean information,” in his words. In fact, he wrote the names of 38 of them, while observing, “You should learn something new every day.” Just a few of those notable names include Clarence Robison, Wilbur Braithwaite, Jack Bishop, Dean Fowles, Greg Excell, Craig Gladwell, Jim Porter, Clint Barney and one of tonight’s fellow honorees, Danny Hill. Many other coaches themselves undoubtedly learned from Glen. He was named the “Utah Track Coach of the Year” nine times, in three different decades, and was similarly honored in wrestling and football. In retirement, he has assisted with the Panguitch basketball program in a continuing effort to “be a part of something greater than myself,” he said.
Parents of two children, Glen and his wife, Kaelyn, live in Panguitch
A graduate of Clearfield High School and Weber State University, Jay Welk enjoyed remarkable consistency in his 24 seasons as Davis High School’s basketball coach. The Darts won the 2002 state championship, finished second three times and reached the semifinals four other times in Jay’s tenure. He compiled a 351-199 record at Davis. Counting two years as Weber High’s coach, his career record is 365-228.
As with all Distinguished Coaches honored by the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, the numbers tell only part of his story. When he retired from coaching, Jay told the Standard Examiner, “I had good coaches when I was young and I wanted to influence kids the way they did.” Jay succeeded in that regard, and he’s proud to have contributed to the experiences of his players. “Competitive sports provides an arena to simulate life – setbacks, triumphs and teamwork,” he said. Jay also is the only Utah basketball coach who can say one of his former players has competed in the Masters golf tournament. Daniel Summerhays, a member of Davis’ 2002 state championship basketball team, made his debut at Augusta National Golf Club in 2017.
Having played for Roger Reid at Clearfield and worked under Ted Smith at Roy, Jay applied the lessons he learned from them and other coaches. He competed in football, basketball and track at Clearfield and was voted by coaches as the school’s most outstanding athlete in 1976. As a teacher, the North Dakota native launched his career in math, economics and geography at Millcreek Junior High in Bountiful. He had two stints as Davis’ athletic director and currently works for the Davis School District as a healthy lifestyles supervisor. He earned a Master’s degree from Utah State in 1994.
During his time as athletic director, Davis was the top school in its classification in the Deseret News All-Sports Award competition in 2008, 2010 and 2012 and was twice a runner-up. Jay helped promote the Darts’ overall success in a Kaysville community that is highly supportive of the school’s athletic programs.
Jay has received several awards along the way, including 2014 recognition as the West Region Basketball Coach of the Year from the National Federation of State High Schools. He received a Meritorious Association in Service Award from the Utah Interscholastic Athletic Administrators in 2015.
Parents of seven children, Jay and his wife, Luann, live in Kaysville
Don Wayne Nelson
Carol De Monge
James Durrant Jr
J. Wallace West
Dunn “Snide” Taylor