NELKE: Staying power in area prep football coaches

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Lake City High naming a new head football coach for the second time in three years, and the administration talking about the need for stability in the program, got me to thinking — which I know can be dangerous!

How do the other high school football programs stack up, in terms of continuity in their head coaches?

Let’s see ...

First we’ll start with Lake City. The Timberwolves had the same head coach (Van Troxel) for the first 22 seasons. His successor, Bryce Erickson, coached for two seasons before Brian Fulp took over as interim head coach this week.

Meanwhile, on the other side of U.S. 95, Shawn Amos is getting ready for his 22nd season as Coeur d’Alene head coach. He replaced Bill Anderson, who was there two seasons. Before that, it was Greg Drake for five seasons, Larry Schwenke for four, Jim Clements for one, Herb Criner for five ...

Post Falls has had just six coaches in the last 40 years — Nick Menegas (1978-85), Brad Murray (1986-89), Jerry Lee (1990-96), Jeff Choate (1997-2001), Lee again (2002-04), Jeff Hinz (2005-15), and now Blaine Bennett, who is preparing for his third season as head coach. Bennett was an assistant for one season under Hinz, who died of cancer in July 2016.

THEN THERE’S Lakeland, which has had a Kiefer as head coach since 1978. Terry Kiefer was head coach for 25 seasons, and his son, Tim, is preparing for his 16th season as Hawks’ coach.

Eleven miles up the road, Timberlake has had just three coaches since it opened its doors in Spirit Lake in 1998.

Kelly Amos coached the first three seasons, followed by Tim Kiefer (yes, that Tim Kiefer) for two. Then, when Kiefer moved to Lakeland to succeed his father as head coach, Roy Albertson took over after eight seasons at Chewelah (Wash.), and has been the head man ever since. He’s preparing for his 16th season as Tigers’ coach.

Until recently, St. Maries was somewhat of a revolving door for football coaches.

Starting in 1979, Jeff Felton was there for three years, followed by Brad Boudreau for three more. Curt Carr took over in 1985 and coached the Lumberjacks for 13 seasons.

Then St. Maries went through five coaches in a nine-year stretch.

Terence “Blue” Anderson was there for one season (1998), followed by Bob Bucsko for two and Todd Bitterman (a familiar name as a basketball ref and St. Maries softball coach) for two more. John Yegge was there for three seasons, followed by former Lumberjack star Jason Hall for four. Hall was replaced by Craig Tefft, who is getting ready for his ninth season as St. Maries head coach.

Perhaps not coincidentally, St. Maries had some of its best seasons with Carr and Tefft as head coaches.

NOW TO the North Star League.

At Kootenai, the Warriors went through a stretch where they changed football coaches every 3-4 years — most recently Scott Shafer from 1994-97, followed by John Love from 1998-2000.

Doug Napierala took over in 2001, and has been the head man ever since. During that stretch, the Warriors made the state playoffs eight straight years. Napierala is preparing for his 18th season as head coach.

Lakeside has had a total of two football coaches since 1993. Ron Miller, who has done just about everything at the Plummer school except drive the team bus — oh, wait, I think he’s done that too — was the Knights’ football coach for 20 seasons. When he stepped down, Chris Dohrman took over, and he’s preparing for his sixth season as Lakeside coach.

We kinda miss the Falls Christian Academy/Post Falls Christian football program, in part because, in the early years, the football field was in the backyard of the school.

But the Eagles did not have continuity in its head coaches, with five different head coaches in the last seven years of the 13-year program, and seven head coaches overall.

Rick Alexander coached for four seasons (1996-99), followed by Bill Reese for two. Chuck Weller took over in 2002, but quit after four games for health reasons. Jake Fordham coached the final four games, then coached the entire 2003 season.

Kevin Rouse guided the Eagles for their final two seasons (2004-05).

Mark Nelke is sports editor of The Press. He can be reached at 664-8176, Ext. 2019, or via email at Follow him on Twitter@CdAPressSports.

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