EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated from an earlier version.
Bradshaw Mountain has named veteran former college assistant Chuck Moller as the Prescott Valley high school’s new head football coach, athletic director Mark Ernster announced Thursday.
The Humboldt Unified School District (HUSD) governing board will vote whether to approve a contract for the 55-year-old Moller, who was one of six finalists for the job, during its next board meeting at 6:30 p.m. May 9, at HUSD’s Transportation Facility, 6411 N. Robert Road (Building 500).
“Chuck brings an impressive football background to our program, as well as an incredible football IQ,” Ernster said. “He has very high academic and behavioral standards for the program with a focus on preparing our student-athletes for a successful future as an adult.”
The HUSD governing board voted in March not to renew former coach David Moran’s contract as a physical education teacher at Bradshaw Mountain. He led the Bears to the state playoffs in each of the last three seasons (2014-16) and to two region titles.
Moller, originally from Eagle Bend, Minnesota, has 29 years of coaching experience at every level of football, from high school to professional, Ernster said in a news release. However, this will be Moller’s first foray as a high school varsity head coach after spending years as an offensive line coach.
“I think I’m up for the task, though,” said Moller, who will teach P.E. at the high school, in a phone interview Thursday. “I will be a coach and teacher, and I’ll do a good job at both.”
Over the past three years, Moller’s taught P.E. and football at San Carlos High School on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in southern Arizona.
“He comes highly regarded in the community for his efforts and professionalism with staff, students, and parents,” Ernster said.
Moller said he met with half of Bradshaw Mountain’s current football players and assistant coaches Tuesday at the high school.
“We’re going to be doing some more meeting here later on this weekend,” he added. “Everybody I’ve met with has been extremely positive and extremely passionate in wanting to be involved. It’s going to be a great staff, offense and defense.”
For spring football, which starts May 1 at Bob Pavlich Field, Moller said he will let the assistants coach so he can evaluate the team’s strengths. Moller added that he would “pick up the slack where we don’t” have proficiency and make adjustments.
“I’ve watched every game, every snap, from last year that I could get my hands on,” he said. “And by watching it, I would do a lot of things in a different manner. But we’re going to run some of the same plays.”
The coach stresses the importance of team chemistry, as well as a knowledge-base and commitment, from his players and assistants.
“I’m going to put my twist on everything,” Moller said. “There’s room for everyone that wants to be involved and wants to be committed to the program, and I’m extending a hand to that. I can’t promise them what role they’re going to have.”
During his coaching career, Moller has been an assistant coach for five National Coach of the Year winners, Ernster added. The most notable of those coaches included Dennis Franchione at Pittsburg State (1987-89), the University of New Mexico (tight ends and kicking, 1991-97) and Texas State (2011-15); Tyrone Willingham at Stanford (offensive tackles and tight ends, 1997-2001; coached in 2000 Rose Bowl) and Les Miles at Oklahoma State (o-line coach, 2001-04).
Most recently, Moller added, he spent five years at Oklahoma State, leaving in 2006 for Arizona to work in real estate. He later volunteered as a coach at Phoenix College. In 2010, Moller spent one season as head coach at University of Minnesota-Crookston.
“I’ve known about Bradshaw Mountain football, the athletics there, the years I recruited for New Mexico and for Stanford,” Moller said. “We’d come through. Even though you didn’t have kids, either in the spring or in the fall, we’d make time to contact as many schools in our area as we can.”
Moller has been part of seven conference championship teams and two national championship squads, Ernster said. He coached in eight bowl games and mentored “33 NFL athletes and 31 Academic All-Americans,” Ernster added.
Growing up, Moller was a multi-sport star in high school. He played football for three seasons at the University of Minnesota-Morris, where he was an Academic All-American on defense.
After blowing out a knee, Moller said he left Minnesota-Morris for North Dakota State, where he became passionate about coaching offense and defense as a grad assistant from 1985-87.
College coaching is much different than high school coaching, but Moller said he’s grateful for the opportunity. In 2016, David Moran earned 4A Grand Canyon Region Coach of the Year honors. He guided the program to a 23-12 overall record in his three seasons.
“It’s a tough job [for the hiring committee at Bradshaw Mountain], because they’re replacing somebody that’s been very successful,” Moller said. “It’s gotta be a tough decision in a smaller community when somebody has had the success the Morans [including coach Steve Moran, David’s father] had.”
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