With two new coaches and a second-year coach heading up the Payson High wrestling and basketball programs it would seem there would be a steep learning curve as the trio adjust.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
New wrestling coach Casey Woodall and boys basketball coach Bill Goodwin are actually veteran coaches with years of experience and plenty of moxie to call upon.
Girls basketball coach Kelly Krieg is in her second year, but is hardened and battled tested by her experiences in leading the 2009-2010 team through the rigors of East region hoop ball.
She’s also a thoroughbred in the sport, having grown up the daughter of a high school coach and having played successfully on the collegiate level.
Among those impressed with the threesome is PHS Athletic Director Rob Varner.
“I’m very pleased with how organized they all are and I was pleasantly surprised to have the level of coaching experience all three had coming into the positions, especially after we had to make so many budget cuts last year,” he said. “I’m hoping to have longevity with the group of coaches we now have in place.”
Wrestling coach praised by predecessor, AD
Woodall is the teacher-coach the Payson School Board appointed last summer to replace Travis Koppenhafer who resigned to take a job in his home state of Colorado.
Woodall and Koppenhafer are no strangers to one another.
Koppenhafer lauds the new coach saying, “PHS couldn’t have hired a better person. His work ethic and integrity are staggering.”
Koppenhafer should know because he wrestled against and also coached Woodall during the pair’s college years.
Koppenhafer calls Woodall, “One of the best men I know.”
Varner also lauds the new mat coach saying, “All indications from the people I have spoken to about Casey is that we hit a gold mine.”
The new coach is a native of Morenci and a two-time state wrestling champion at the town’s high school.
After graduating from Morenci he went to Adams State College where he was a two-time 197-pound All-American.
For the past four years, he was head wrestling coach at Benson High School, guiding the team to several top-five state finishes.
Woodall also served as the defensive coordinator for the Benson football team.
Although he didn’t coach football at PHS this past season, Longhorn coach Byron Quinlan says he’d like to someday add Woodall to his staff.
Koppenhafer is elated PHS hired such a competent coach because, he says, Payson has “a very tough squad coming back and some great freshman kids that are going to give (defending state champion) Safford a run for their money for the state title.”
The outgoing coach also predicted, “Casey is going to take this program to a new level.”
The wrestling season tips off Dec. 3-4 at the Rio Rancho tournament near Albuquerque, N.M.
Goodwin a seasoned vet
The new boys basketball coach brings to PHS an impressive coaching resume that includes stops in Missouri, Colorado, Iowa and Arizona.
He coached at Class 2A Kearney-Ray from 1990 to 1995, racking up several impressive accomplishments including a 100-33 record during that tenure. His team went to the state tournament all five years and in 1992 the school won the Arizona state championship.
At Kearney, he was once named the Arizona Coaches Association Coach of the Year, the Arizona Republic Coach of the Year and coached in the ACA North vs. South all-star game.
Varner says “its rare to have a state championship coach available to hire in the caliber of Bill.”
Goodwin left Kearney to become head coach at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo.
In addition to coaching at Kearney and Lindenwood, he was head coach at Kuemper High in Carroll, Iowa and an assistant coach at Northwest Missouri State, which is his alma mater.
He also played collegiately at NMSU.
Goodwin’s career prep record includes 181 wins, 66 losses, six state tournament appearances and four conference championships, two of which were won by undefeated teams.
At PHS, he teaches physical education and weight training.
PHS opens its season Nov. 23 vs, Winslow in Wilson Dome. Tip off is 7:30 p.m.
Lady Horn coach returns
Almost everyone understood that when Kelly Krieg took over the basketball program last season she was in an up-hill battle because almost all the star-studded players from a season earlier graduated.
The predictions were on target as the Lady Horns (4-7 in the East; 9-18 overall) did not make the 16-team state tournament and finished fifth in the six-team region standings.
Although the team struggled, fans, opposing coaches, administrators and teachers earned a newfound respect for Krieg and the way she guided the young players through some tough times.
During the summer months she hosted several off-season activities, which should go a long way in making the team even more competitive this season.
“Kelly has done a real good job in building up her program,” Varner said. “It took some time for Arnold (Stonebrink, volleyball coach) to build up volleyball and now we see a bright future for years to come and I see Kelly following in those same footsteps. It takes some time to build a successful program.”
Before moving to Payson, Krieg taught and coached at Yuma Kofa High School.
She graduated in 2005 from the University of Wisconsin Superior where she was a member of the Dean’s List, a varsity basketball player for four years and the team captain her senior season.
Krieg, the daughter of a high school coach, played mostly point guard during her tenure at Wisconsin Superior.
Krieg stresses good fundamentals including rebounding and defense and seems to favor a set offense over a run-and-gun style of play. She has said, however, she will fashion the 2010-11 team’s offense and defense on the skills and talents of her players.
The Lady Longhorns open their season Nov. 23 against Winslow in Wilson Dome. Game time is 6 p.m.