Spring football practice can begin Monday, and it always brings a variety of interesting story lines across the high school landscape.
The overwhelming theme for spring ball this year is the variety of high-profile coaching changes, particularly around the Oklahoma City metro area.
Here’s a look at the five most interesting coaching changes across the metro:
By far the most intriguing hire of the offseason, longtime college defensive coordinator Bill Young takes over for the Millers. The man who has been an assistant at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Arizona State, Miami, Ohio State, Southern Cal and the Detriot Lions is now Yukon’s head coach.
Not only that, Yukon has brought in a proven head coach to be Young’s offensive coordinator. Brian Sauser, 38, had turned Iowa City West into a regular playoff contender in his six years there. He was expected to be introduced to the coaches on Sunday and to the team on Monday.
Adam Gaylor has been one of the state’s more well-regarded assistant coaches over the last few years, and he’s walking into a good situation at Westmoore.
The former Broken Arrow defensive coordinator takes over a program coming off a Class 6A semifinal appearance with several key pieces returning. That includes perhaps the state’s best group of receivers, led by widely recruited senior-to-be Dahu Green.
It’s not often you see a coaching change following a state championship, but that’s what they’re facing in Guthrie, with Rafe Watkins moving up to Class 6A at Muskogee. The 5A champion Bluejays stayed inside the program to promote Kelly Beeby.
Guthrie has some talent returning, but must replace its quarterback and do-everything star Kai Callins.
The most surprising coaching vacancy came a few weeks ago when Philip Koons stepped down at Tuttle after 21 seasons and 205 victories, leaving an opening at one of the state’s most routinely successful programs.
The Tigers brought in Brad Ballard from Lincoln Christian, which has been pretty stout in its own right. Ballard was the defensive coordinator there and seems to be a good fit for a town that is passionate about football.
Putnam City North
For a school that has only been open for 35 years, PC North has had quite a string of coaches, from Ron Taylor to Mike Little to Bob Wilson. Wilson retired from coaching in April after 22 years as the head Panther, and assistant Rod Richardson will step in.
This is Richardson’s first football head coaching job, but the guy is a proven winner. He has more than 100 victories as the Panthers’ baseball coach, with three state tournament appearances. He played quarterback at Midwest City in the mid-1990s, when the Bombers were hugely successful.
But Richardson has some work ahead of him, trying to get the Panthers back on track in the middle of the Class 6A split. The large-school side of the split guarantees PC North a brutal schedule that will include district games against Tulsa Union, Owasso, Norman North, Edmond North, Mustang, Southmoore and Moore.