Five Colorado head football coaches who are new at their schools to watch this fall.
As the calendar turns to August and the official start of fall football practice looms weeks away, Denver Post preps editor Kyle Newman breaks down five offseason head coaching hires to keep an eye on heading into the start of a new season:
Joe Johnson, Cherokee Trail
After 17 seasons and three state Class 4A championships at ThunderRidge, Johnson headed east to Aurora to become the Cougars’ third head coach in three years. Johnson is 205-86 in 22 years of coaching — a career mark that includes a stint at Douglas County from 1994-98 — and he figures to bring a new level of intensity to Cherokee Trail, which went 5-6 in 2016 en route to a first-round playoff loss. The Cougars will lean on junior running back Dylan James to create sparks offensively this fall.
Tony Lindsay, Far Northeast
A fixture on the Denver South sideline for the past decade, Lindsay crafted the Rebels into the city’s best football program via seven straight playoff appearances and a 2012 Class 4A title game showing. But the move to Far Northeast will be an entirely different challenge for Lindsay, as the Warriors had as many head coaches — three — as total wins from 2014-16. Senior running back/free safety Keisean Parker highlights a roster that’s a blend of players from smaller high schools around the Montbello area, and Lindsay should have ample future talent to work with thanks to the Class 5A co-op school’s current enrollment of 2,948 — the secondlargest in Colorado behind Cherry Creek.
Travis Peeples, Frederick
The latest coaching stop for Peeples — who was an assistant at Cheyenne South in Wyoming last season, and the head coach at Aurora Central and offensive coordinator at Greeley West in the two years before to that — brings him to Frederick, where the Warriors have won two games in the past three seasons combined. But Peeples, a quarterback at the University of Central Florida in the early 1990s, is known for his ability to turn programs around. He led Aurora Central to an 8-2 mark and a playoff appearance in his lone season on the job, and key Frederick returners such as senior running back/strong safety Matt Olson give the first-year coach something to work with.
Julian Banks, Northfield
After coaching Adams City for two seasons, Banks steps in to guide a Northfield team that went 7-3 at the junior varsity level last fall in its first full season as a program. It’s a unique opportunity for both Banks — who played professionally in Europe and is the quarterback for Colorado Greyhawks, one of the best semi-pro football teams in the entire country — as well as the Nighthawks, who will use 2017 as another growing opportunity before the program becomes an official varsity program at the Class 3A level in 2018.
Taylor Calvert, Gateway
It’s the third Aurora coaching stop for Calvert, who left his gig as a Rangeview assistant to take the job with the Olympians and also served as Aurora Central’s head coach from 2014-16. Calvert inherits some returning talent from Gateway’s 2-8 team last season, including a skilled offensive core of seniors in running back Kevin Traylor Jr., quarterback Xavier Delk and wide receiver Ajonte Manlove. The Olympians’ 2017 success is largely dependent on whether they can get some momentum out of the gates, when their schedule opens at Littleton and Grand Junction Central.
Denver South coaches Tony Lindsay, left, and Troy Lindsay speak to their team after a loss to Windsor at All-City Stadium in Denver during last season’s playoffs. Tony Lindsay took the head coaching job at Far Northeast during the offseason.