Byron Quinlan is stepping down as the PHS head football coach after two years at the helm of the gridiron program and several other seasons as an assistant.
The PUSD school board accepted his resignation from both coaching duties and his counseling position at Rim Country Middle School at its May 14 meeting.
His counseling job was actually eliminated earlier this spring in a budget-cutting move and next year Quinlan would have been at the high school as a special education teacher.
Quinlan admits the elimination of his counseling job influenced his decision to step away — “After my position was cut, I felt it necessary to look elsewhere.
“It turned out that a K-12 counseling position opened next to a family ranch in Western Montana which I interviewed for and was fortunate to receive.”
In addition to his counseling position at the school, Quinlan and his wife, April, will care-take the sprawling ranch.
“We look forward to raising our son in a family friendly environment with lots of opportunities for him to learn about work ethic,” said Quinlan.
While Quinlan has been told there are coaching opportunities at his new school, he will focus this year on his counseling duties.
In leaving, the former coach says, “I am sorrowful that I wasn’t able to fully complete the task I set out to do as the head coach at Payson High School.
“Stepping down was not an easy decision. The past two years have been a building process that looked to pay dividends this upcoming year.”
The former coach also thanked many of those who supported him, including athletic director Gary Fishel, former AD Rob Varner and his assistant coaches.
Also, he added, “One parent that went above and beyond was Sophie Davis.
“She provided so much help with fund-raising that I can’t thank her enough.”
Among the highlights of Quinlan’s regime was a highly successful football camp he directed last year on the school campus and at Rumsey Park.
It attracted five teams from around the state, including several Division I “big schools” from the Valley.
The camp grossed over $40,000, which he in turn invested in other extracurricular activities at PHS.
“Putting money back into other school programs is a tradition that needs to continue,” he said.
Last season under Quinlan, the Longhorns finished 4-7 and came up just shy of earning a berth in the Division III state playoffs.
The squad did have several players who made the All-Division team including Chance Randall, Clint Harper, Levi Sopeland and Cade DeSpain.
In 2010, the team finished 5-6 and advanced to the post-season playoffs only to be eliminated in the first round by a 30-14 loss to Round Valley.
In leaving the Rim Country, Quinlan is saying goodbye his hometown and the high school where he was once a three-sport standout, earning all-region honors in both football and basketball.
In basketball, he set several school records and was coached by his father, Jim Quinlan.
Two of his records, career assists and career steals, still stand.
Quinlan also taught briefly at Rim Country Middle School and in the summer months was employed on a U.S. Forest Service helitack fire fighting crew.