Wallace takes the reins of Palisade boys soccer team
Palisade High School is staying within its boys soccer program to replace a veteran coach.
Austin Wallace, a Bulldogs assistant coach for the past five seasons, was officially selected the head coach Thursday.
“Austin is an exceptional leader who is involved in every facet of our school community,” Palisade Athletic Director Mike Krueger said in a news release. “I am very proud and honored that he will be assuming this leadership role with boys soccer.”
Wallace, 31, replaces Drake Jandreau, 54, who resigned in December after 19 seasons and plans to retire from teaching after the 2013-14 school year.
Jandreau led Palisade to district championships in 1993 and 1994, and a district runner-up and a state quarterfinals appearance in 1995.
Jandreau told The Daily Sentinel his first year as head coach — in 1990 — Palisade made the playoffs for the first time in school history.
The Bulldogs (7-7-1) placed fourth in the Class 4A Western Slope League last fall.
“I’m really excited to work with these kids,” Wallace said. “We had our best year in the last 10 years last year.”
The Bulldogs had four seniors last year, and Wallace is expecting all of the other players to come back.
“We lost our starting goalkeeper and backup goalkeeper,” Wallace said. “They were both seniors, and we have no JV program.”
Leading scorer Marques Combs returns, and Austin Stellmach is a leading candidate to replace Spencer Jackson, who will play at Colorado Mesa University in the fall.
“When I first started, I didn’t know coach Jandreau’s style,” Wallace said. “After the first month, it helped me to understand how it should be played, with hard work and teamwork.
“We’ll do a couple things a little differently. I have a lot of ideas and never know if it will work. I may come with strikers from the side.”
Wallace grew up in Alaska and got his bachelor’s degree at Brigham Young University. He got his first teaching job at Palisade in 2007.
Jandreau asked Wallace to be his assistant coach during Wallace’s first year at Palisade, but Wallace waited one year to get acclimated before assisting Jandreau. Wallace is a foreign language and International Baccalaureate teacher at Palisade High School.
Jandreau said he was tickled to learn Wallace will succeed him.
“I think he’s a good match for the program,” Jandreau said. “He has kids growth at the center (of his coaching approach). He’s a very focused coach.”