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SHERIDAN — Sheridan High School’s head football coach, Don Julian, isn’t one to shy away from recognizing his coaching staff. Julian compiled a group of guys he met through various football resources.
Each coach is similar in that he fits into a group of traits that makes up the historically successful Sheridan football program. Yet, each individual is unique and was brought onto the staff for a specific reason.
Julian called assistant DJ Dearcorn an extremely loyal person.
Julian coached Dearcorn in the Shrine Bowl before Dearcorn went off to tear up defenses at Carroll College. Julian stayed in touch and grew to know Dearcorn through other coaches and schools, so when Julian took over at SHS in 2007, he wanted Dearcorn on his staff.
The problem was, Dearcorn was already coaching at Tongue River High School, the same school from which he graduated.
“He’s a very, very loyal person — loyal to the cause and to his team and his program,” Julian said. “That really stood out to me. So I just cut my losses and kept moving on.”
“We had fun; we had a good thing going,” Dearcorn said of his time at Tongue River. “We had just played in the state championship and had a good team coming back. It was a good program to be a part of and not something that I was just looking for a way out.”
After some prodding from Julian and some advice from the Tongue River coaches, though, Dearcorn made the move to Sheridan and joined Julian’s staff.
That’s another thing about Dearcorn: his drive.
Joining the Broncs was the next step on the ladder to coaching success. It was a bigger program and a larger role for Dearcorn.
That same drive landed Dearcorn behind a nice desk at First Federal Savings Bank, a place that was many rungs up the ladder when he first moved to Sheridan. Dearcorn began his career in the information technology field.
He went back and forth from Gillette to Sheridan working for Sheridan College for five years before taking a job doing computer work for First Federal, which was another five-plus years of work.
Eventually, Dearcorn was promoted to residential lending and now commercial lending.
While Dearcorn has devoted many years to the bank, he credits the bank for supporting him while he invests his time back into the Sheridan community, specifically through football.
“Initially it was probably pretty selfish as far as my motivation in wanting to be involved in a football program and that I wanted to stay close to it,” Dearcorn admitted. “Through the course of being on coach Julian’s staff for 10 years now and looking at the impacts we’ve been able to make far, far beyond football has really changed what this is all about for me.”
And Dearcorn makes sacrifices to be on the field helping Sheridan’s young athletes.
What makes the coach unique to the SHS staff is he’s the only coach who isn’t a teacher. He’s not around the school and the students nearly as much as his peers, and his work schedule requires some flexibility in order to pair with the team’s practice, game and travel schedule.
“I’m in a disadvantage with relationships right from the bat, and that’s good and bad,” Dearcorn said. “I guess I come with some unknowns, as well, and they get a pretty clean slate with me.”
“He’s loyal to this community,” Julian said. “I think he stands out that way as a person who’s giving back to his community. He’s the one guy on our staff who isn’t part of our school system. And yet he finds ways to be here.”
It’s all worth it for Dearcorn.
Initially, he may have been in it simply to hold on to his love for football, but it blossomed to so much more. Now, he’s giving back to a Sheridan community that he, his wife and their three kids call home.
Dearcorn also serves on the YMCA board, hangs out at dance recitals and gymnastics practices, shares financial advice and still finds time to throw on a headset on Friday nights. The former Tongue River choir member even serenades his fellow coaches before each game.
“It’s always fun to see what song he’s going to pick each week,” Julian said with a big smile.
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