Richfield High School announced its new head football coach last week — Ryan Shaddix.
Shaddix has been an assistant coach on the football team for the past four years. He started out coaching the defensive ends, and then the entire defensive line.
“We have an amazing talent pool of coaches in this area,” Shaddix said. He said letting good coaches do their work is essential to the success of a football program.
He is taking over the position from Jason Hitchens, who helmed the Wildcats for two years. He is moving to California to be closer to family.
“Jason did a phenominal job in establishing the commitment level needed to win,” Shaddix said. He said he has benefited from being mentored by Hitchens as well as Eric Thorson, who was the coach prior.
“I’ve been able to work with two really smart football coaches,” Shaddix said. “I’m so excited to have this opportunity. It’s a dream come true.”
Positive development of youth is a mission in Shaddix’s life, one he said dovetails nicely with the game of football.
Shortly after coming to Richfield to establish the Calvary Chapel, Shaddix started a youth refuge program — a place for teenagers to hang out on Friday night, enjoy themselves and not get into trouble.
“Football is the greatest game of all,” Shaddix said. “Coach Hitchens said, ‘we’re not preparing them for four years, we’re preparing them for 40.’”
Each down requires something of each player on the field — hit a pattern, block a hole or stop an opponent.
“Every player is challenged every down,” Shaddix said. “It’s a microcosm for life.”
The gridiron is a place where youths learn to do their part, but also to rely on others.
“It’s the essence of family, teamwork and cooperation,” Shaddix said. “Football provides a unique opportunity to cultivate resiliency.”
“Ryan has served as a key assistant coach on the staff,” said Rich Barton, RHS athletic director. “He possesses the necessary traits of an education-based coach. He is an outstanding teacher, an exceptional leader, and one of his highest qualities is the love and concern that he has for kids. He is a man of integrity who strives for excellence in all facets of his life. We are excited for him to take on this new challenge.”
Assuming the state has continued to progress past the COVID-19 epidemic, the ’Cats’ football season is tentatively set to start at home against Hurricane Aug. 14.