Heide happy to head Wolverine Football
Written by: Joel Priest
BHS his third in-state stop in a decade
Then, the Hahn-ted House.
Now, and more so at 4 p.m. Monday, Wolverine Country Stadium becomes the Heide-away.
Coach Marshall Hahn’s replacement at the helm of Bayfield Football has been found, and his name is Gary Heide. A fellow who clearly feels something potent is possible as the Wolverines will officially start preparing that day for a brand-new battle in the uncharted Class 2A Western.
“I might say that all the time that I’ve been in Colorado, that 2A kind of thing…always…I thought that would be the perfect kind of league to be in—the ‘Western Slope, 2A,’” he said Wednesday morning.
“And I tell you, when I applied I didn’t realize we were in the 2A Western Slope! When I heard that…of course we’ve got a lot of driving to do from Bayfield, but it’s a great league to be in. Very prestigious, very highly respected, but perfect-sized.”
The newly-formed league includes Olathe (8-4, 6-1 WSL in 2011) and Aspen (7-4, 5-2), as well as Basalt (6-4, 4-3), Coal Ridge (New Castle; 4-6, 3-4), Grand Valley (Parachute; 4-6, 3-4—beat CRHS in season finale), Gunnison (4-6, 1-6—only win against Roaring Fork of Carbondale, now a 1A Western Slope squad), and now-disbanded Mountain Conference nemesis Pagosa Springs (7-3, 4-2 MC).
Heide has mentored players as both a head coach and an assistant at two smaller Slope schools, Soroco in Oak Creek and West Grand in Kremmling.
He believes his new charges are already well on track to compete.
“Well I was very fortunate to be able to have a camp already, and we went to a scrimmage in Alamosa,” he said of his gridders. “And I’m impressed; our dedication, quickness and our speed…we’ve got to build off of that and exemplify that during the course of the season.”
“I can see that Coach Hahn before me has instilled a lot of pride, lot of excitement. So my philosophy coming in is to be myself and keep those great characteristics alive, and be able to foster young men to be able to be better people and better football players.”
Married to wife Candy for two decades and counting, Heide’s mission statement was put in motion when he became defensive coordinator for Soroco in 2001, then took over the whole show in 2002—and got the Rams into their first 1A State Tournament in 17 years in ’03.
Following the 2005 campaign, he returned to his—and hers—home state of Minnesota to take the reins of the Hayfield Vikings, but the team was unable for three years (aggregate record of 5-22) to play in a Class AA Prep Bowl inside their NFL namesake’s Metrodome.
Following his resignation, Heide headed back to the Centennial State in 2009 at West Grand High School and helped Coach Chris Brown take the Mustangs from a 2-7 team to an 8-3 bunch just a year later.
“As far as offense, I was a Wing-T person before. But the philosophy of the option and Wing-T are the same—you try to put the defense in predicaments that they have to respond one way or the other and hopefully they respond wrong,” he explained of his plans for BHS to push the ball downfield.
“So to be balanced, with a few quality pass attempts…without revealing specifics, obviously the success of the option here will be heavily incorporated, as with some other play-action-type things.”
Despite two daughters attending Western State College in Gunnison, and twin sons starting seventh grade, Heide said his last move was an easy one.
“Perfect for my family—a rural town, but still you have a lot of interest in football! To me that’s special,” he stated. “And to still be in the mountains of Colorado, it was a very easy choice. I really enjoyed Kremmling and really enjoyed Soroco, but they’re really tiny schools and I maybe wanted something a little bigger than that.”
“Quite frankly, I put it all together as far as my personal goals and my family—I think 2A is the perfect size for me to coach at. And with all the support I’ve received so far…it’s going to be a very enjoyable time.”
Coming off a 12-1, Class 2A State Championship berth, Bayfield and Heide are slated to kick off their new eras on Aug. 25 at home against Durango. Greg Wyatt’s Demons finished 4-7 overall (1-3 4A/5A Southwestern) in 2011.
New league formations: So what happened to the rest of the circuit Wolverine fans had grown to know in recent seasons? For the record, Buena Vista and Salida both dropped down to the 1A Tri-Peaks (joining Colorado Springs Christian, Custer County, Ellicott, John Mall, Peyton and Rye).
Centauri descended to the 1A Southern Peaks (with Ignacio, Monte Vista, Center, Dolores, Del Norte), and Montezuma-Cortez climbed back into the 3A Western Slope (joining Battle Mountain, Delta, Eagle Valley, Glenwood Springs, Moffat County, Palisade, Rifle and Steamboat Springs).