Wildcats narrow list of candidates for football coaching vacancy


Alan Bateman, Central High School assistant coach

Sven Christiansn, Deer Valley (Ariz.) High School head coach

Casey Doss, Central High School assistant coach

Shawn Marsh, Mesa State College assistant, former Grand Junction High School head coach

Brandon Milholland, Central High School assistant coach

Doug Thornhill, former Silverado (Nev.) High School head coach

Starting over is never easy.

After a 12-year stint with Bill Moore as its head football coach, the Fruita Monument High School athletic department is narrowing its search for his replacement.

Interim Athletic Director Denny Squibb said Monday the Wildcats have narrowed their search to six candidates who will interview for the job this week.

The list started with 26 candidates with a wide variety of backgrounds, Squibb said.

“We had everything from local assistant coaches to graduate assistants to college coaches,” Squibb said. “We got resumes from New Jersey, Florida, New Mexico, the Midwest, Arizona, Utah.”

The final six include three Central High School assistant coaches, Alan Bateman, Casey Doss and Brandon Milholland. Sven Christianson, the head coach at Deer Valley High School in Glendale, Ariz., and Doug Thornhill, who has been a head coach at two schools in Nevada, also made the short list, as did Shawn Marsh, the former Grand Junction High School head coach.

“We have to make sure it’s going to be a good fit,” Squibb said. “It’s not like college where you can just get the best candidate on the field. A lot more goes into it. Someone might be eliminated because of what they teach or don’t teach.”

Bateman has 13 years of coaching experience and has been the Warriors’ junior varsity coach. Doss is the offensive coordinator at Central and has been the head coach of other programs at Central. Milholland is a defensive backs coach and has been an assistant for the varsity and junior varsity.

Christianson has been the head coach at Class 5A Deer Valley for eight seasons, and has a total of 15 years coaching experience. Last season, the Skyhawks finished 4-7.

Marsh was the head coach at Grand Junction for seven seasons, which included a trip to the 2005 Class 4A state finals. Most recently, he was the running backs coach at Mesa State College.

Thornhill has 17 years of experience, 10 as a head coach, most recently at Silverado High School in Las Vegas and at Foothill in Henderson.

Squibb hopes to have a coach hired by early next week, mid-February at the latest.

“We’ve had some really good people that have been interested in the job,” Squibb said. “We are looking for someone who can solidify the program.”

Whoever gets the job will take over a team that went 3-7 last year and missed the playoffs for the first time since moving up to the Class 5A level in 2004.

The bright side is the Wildcats were a young team, and have players returning in key positions, including quarterback Zach Thorpe and running back Devin Dance.


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