HYRUM – Leaving the familiarity of central and western Ohio for the western United States is something Randy Kerns has always wanted to do. The 33 year old high school football coach was recently named to be the next head coach for the Mountain Crest Mustangs in Hyrum.
“I’ve been looking out west for a couple years. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” the coach exclaimed during a recent interview on 106.9 The FAN. The young coach, with a 24-35 career record, has captained three different high school football programs: National Trail (his alma mater), Swanton and Fairborn. At his last stop, he helped turn around what he called a perennial door mat into a playoff team. And he plans to get the Mustangs back to prominence in Utah.
“I came in here and in two years went from 3-7 to 6-1. (The) good part is that I have experience doing that.”
Mountain Crest last made a deep run in the playoffs in 2017 when they appeared in the 4A championship game. Since then, they are 2-3 in the postseason and have been at or near the bottom of Region 11. Kerns announced on Twitter on Dec. 30th that he would be the Mustangs’ next head coach.
“It’s…coming in and setting a clear culture,” Kerns said when laying out his plan to turn things around at Mountain Crest. “There is talent and history, people want a winner that’s for sure. Set a clear culture, establishing those core values, holding kids accountable and pushing them. It comes down to trust. Anytime there is a downswing at a place that is always good, that’s where it starts first.”
The Mustangs have three state championships, multiple region titles and multiple runner-up finishes in football, and Kerns wants to get them back to that prominence with the right kind of staff and the proper attitude.
“I really enjoy (setting a new tone). I’m kind of a builder, in a way,” he added. “My personality and the way I was raised, I’m a builder and a positive thinker…a guy who likes to build kids up and make people feel good the best I can. I always think ‘how would I like to be treated?’”
As far as putting his staff together, Kerns announced that Chad Olsen will continue on the MC staff, and he has been interviewing other members of the previous coaching staff while also fielding calls from other interested candidates.
“I told the administration, if there are guys who don’t meet the criteria that I want, if they’re not reliable, have positive energy, and accountable guys, who can’t build relationships with the kids then don’t forward me their names.”
In five of his six years of coaching, Kerns has operated a wing T offensive style. He said he loves a strong, running style of offense but isn’t necessarily married to it. He said he’s willing to adjust based on who his coordinators are and what his team looks like. Defensively, he’s always been a fan of the 3-4 defensive scheme.
“Everyone I talk to talks about Mountain Crest and how they’ve always been known for hard-nosed, tough defense. I’m really looking forward to getting that back.”
Kerns said he has already been made aware of the close proximity of region opponents and strong rivalries that already exist.
“When you have schools like Ridgeline and Mountain Crest like four miles apart, the intensity behind that I’m very excited for,” he added. “Some other coaches I know, down in Park City and other parts of the state, have reached out to me and said ,’I think you’re going to love it up there. You’re going to love the kids, great hard workers at Mountain Crest, but you’re going into a bear of a region.’ Alright! Let’s go.”
To hear the full interview with Coach Kerns: