Yukon is bringing in new faces to start spring football.
After the sudden departure of the majority of coach Jeremy Reed’s staff, the Millers have been scrambling to replace positions.
Offensive coordinator and assistant head coach Jeff Hall left Yukon in April to take the head coaching job at Piedmont. Hall took Miller assistants Aaron Dillard, Josh Cawyer and Payton Broome along with him. Defensive assistant Logan Thomas joined Hall’s staff as well.
Reed and the Millers had to fill another hole when defensive coordinator Craig Hubbard took the same position at Hennessey. Bradyn Meyer (defensive assistant) and Kevin Holman (defensive line) also left Reed’s staff.
The coaching search continuing on through spring training makes things difficult.
“We’re ready to go (for spring practice),” Reed said. “You’d like to have things finalized by now but sometimes it’s just not possible.”
Reed has filled some of the open positions.
Shane Schock, Corey Perry and Colby Webb have joined the staff as offensive assistants.
The Miller defense is already in good hands with Dan Nichols at the helm. Nichols comes to Yukon from Jenks, where he held the same title. He was previously the defensive coordinator at Verdigris and head coach at Kelleyville.
“He just brings a ton of experience, he’s very knowledgeable,” Reed said. “It was a blessing to get that to work out and bring him to Yukon to do some things. We were very saddened by Coach Hubbard leaving; both he, our coaches, and our kids.
“This is not something we wanted to happen but I think we really landed on our feet by getting Coach Nichols.”
But it hasn’t been easy adding to the staff.
The shortage of educators throughout the state has caused headaches for many schools, and Yukon’s coaching staff is suffering as well.
“Hiring is getting harder every year with education and coaching, the combination of those two,” Reed said. “We’ve been very fortunate in two years hiring. We’ve been fortunate to this point, it’s just quite a chore to fill spots and get that accomplished in a time frame we all like.”
However, Yukon Public Schools recently approved a raise for its teachers that made them the highest paid in Canadian County. Reed says the raises should make the hiring process easier.
“Any time people see their value is more, it definitely helps. I’d say that’s a great step in the right direction,” he said.
Now, the Millers will head into spring practice with four coaches on offense and five on defense with two positions still open on either side of the ball.
The coaching turnover won’t affect spring football.
“Even before the staff changes, we had a different approach to this spring as far as using the first week for some evaluation of all kids on offense and defense,” Reed said. “Just looking at some depth in certain spots I think we need to look at. It just happens that plan works really well when you have a lot of coaches that are new because now they can see kids on both sides of the ball.”
Reed said spring practice is the best time to initiate new coaches to the program.
“Spring is very important for a lot of reasons, especially when you’re filling a lot of staff spots. It gives them the chance to coach the kids. You’re not a deadline like we are in the fall,” he said.
Having plenty of time before the beginning of the regular season is part of that.
“When you’re in the spring, you know you don’t have to be on that deadline,” Reed said. “It really allows these guys to sit back and do some evaluation and reach some goals we try to do for the spring that would be different for the fall.”