ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING (August 9, 2020) — In today’s edition of 5 Questions With…, Wyo4News talks with Mark Lenhardt, Rock Springs High School Head Football Coach. The Tigers are currently scheduled to start practice session Monday with their first game Friday, August 28 at Campbell County High School in Gillette.
Lenhardt took over as the head coach for the Tigers in 2019. In his first year at the helm, the Tigers finished with a 4-6 record overall record, losing in the first round of the 4A playoffs.
Coaching Career: Lenhardt began his football coaching at Mesa State University, now Colorado Mesa University, in 2003 as an assistant coach. From 2004-2007 he was an assistant coach at Carroll College, which won NCAA Division III national championships in 2004, 2005, and 2007. From 2008-2009 he was an assistant coach at the University of Mary.
Lenhardt got a crack at high school coaching in 2010, as he took an assistant coaching position for Torrington High School. He then became the head coach in 2011 and continued in that position through the 2018 season, leading the school to a 46-30 record. His 2017 and 2018 teams played in the 3A State Championship games. He was recognized as the Eastern Wyoming Coach of the Year in 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018.
Wyo4News 5 Questions
1. How have workouts been for players this summer with all the changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
It has been a series of adjustments; that’s for sure. Much like our public health officials, we are navigating our way through this with new data weekly. With all that being said, our players have been working very hard with Coach Palmer at Cowboy Crossfit. We broke our players up into smaller groups to adhere to state guidelines, and they got a lot of good work done with Coach Coop, and he deserves a ton of credit for that.
2. Do you feel your players have been able to get enough reps on both offense and defense in preparation for the season?
Obviously, we would like to have been able to spend more time around our players, but we were able to have eight OTA practices that really helped us to slow down and teach. I think we made the most out of the situation that we were given. Having been in the system for a year also helped our players because it wasn’t all-new this year.
3. How do the kids feel about playing this season with the changes and process to even be able to play?
I think young people are resilient, and for the most part, they just want to play. A tremendous amount of work goes into preparing to play nine Friday nights a year, so I think our guys want to play, and most importantly, they just want to compete with their friends. I sure hope they get the same opportunities that we all did as young people.
4. How prepared do you and your coaching staff feel as you tackle these new challenges?
We feel very prepared for the challenges we face with COVID-19, but also understand that these are fluid changes. We will face new challenges daily, and we will have to be creative and have tremendous communication to make this season happen safely.
5. What are your hopes for this season after the progress you made last year?
It is a unique set of circumstances, and if we are keeping score, we obviously want to win. I think the main goal should be that we appreciate the opportunity to play. If last spring taught us anything, it can be taken away at any given moment, and we need to look at each practice, meeting, and competition as a gift. COVID-19 has given me a new perspective on how lucky we are to get to play this great game, and hopefully, we can instill that in our players.