The bleachers at Moffat County High School's Bulldog Proving Grounds remain empty during the summer months but soon will be full of football fans come fall. MCHS announced Wednesday that it has hired a new athletic director, Mike Mitchell, and head football coach, Keith Gille, to start immediately.

Photo by Andy Bockelman

The bleachers at Moffat County High School's Bulldog Proving Grounds remain empty during the summer months but soon will be full of football fans come fall. MCHS announced Wednesday that it has hired a new athletic director, Mike Mitchell, and head football coach, Keith Gille, to start immediately.

Moffat County School District hires new head football coach, athletic director

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Moffat County School District has a new head football coach and athletic director.

The district announced Wednesday morning that it has hired Mike Mitchell as the seventh-through-12th-grade athletic director for the school district, and Keith Gille is the new head coach of the Moffat County High School Bulldogs football team.

Gille, who also will teach English at MCHS, has 28 years of coaching experience.

"Mr. Gille has turned around two programs, Alameda International and, the most notable, the 2009 state champion Yuma Indians,” Brent Curtice, school district superintendent, said in a press release.

Gille said he was eager to be part of a small-town team again after his positive experiences with Yuma in the 1A division.

“I couldn’t pass this opportunity by,” he said. “Everything just fell into place. Moffat County’s got some great facilities, and it’s in a beautiful part of the country.”

Gille also already has some familiarity with the man who will oversee his program, having been in the same circles as Mitchell.

Mitchell previously has served as principal and athletic director at Revere Junior and Senior High School in Ovid, as well as with Bromley East Charter School in Brighton.

“Mr. Mitchell has multiple high school and college coaching experiences, most notably two years coaching under Bob Blasi at the University of Northern Colorado and two more years under Bill McCartney at the University of Colorado," Curtice said. "Mike was able to sign free-agent contracts with both the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles before eventually going into coaching. We are very excited for Mike to join our team and look forward to the future of MCSD Athletics and Activities.”

The athletic director oversees sports and activities for both MCHS and Craig Middle School. Mitchell could not be reached for comment about his new position.

Parents, administrators and the public will have an opportunity to meet Gille and Mitchell at a parent and player meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at MCHS.

Football practices officially begin Aug. 11.

The two are hired after an alleged hazing incident with the football team took place at a football camp in Evanston, Wyoming, resulting in the school district asking five coaches, including the head coach, to resign.

The athletic director position was left open this summer after the resignation of Rick Schmitz, whose departure was unrelated to the football team's alleged incident.

Gille said he is hoping to find good community support with putting together a coaching staff, stating that anyone with experience in the sport who also can work well guiding student-athletes will be welcome.

“They need to be willing to commit 40 hours a week or more,” he said. “Their wives will probably hate me for that pretty quickly.”

Curtice credited new MCHS Principal Kelly McCormick with putting in the considerable effort to seek out and select the right candidates.

McCormick said finding those who would be helpful in taking athletes past high school sports was a big part of the criteria.

“We want to provide as many opportunities as we can for these kids,” he said.

The road to success in rebuilding the football program and other programs at the school will be a difficult but ultimately rewarding one, he added.

“Nothing happens overnight, but we’re at the ground level right now,” he said. “Bringing these guys in, I think we have a good base, we’ll continue to learn and grow, and the expectation is to be at the top of the game in years to come.”

Curtice agreed, urging the community to not focus on the negative outcomes of recent weeks but to remain positive for the months ahead.

“We’re moving forward,” he said. “It’s time to play ball.”

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.

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