BIG HORN — The Big Horn football program didn’t look far to find its next head coach. Kirk McLaughlin officially received the promotion from defensive coordinator to head coach at the Sheridan County School District No. 1 board meeting Tuesday.
The decision for both sides was an easy one. McLaughlin wanted to remain with a proven program that Michael McGuire built, and Big Horn athletic director Mike Daley wanted a familiar face to make the transition as easy as possible on the student-athletes.
“Coach McGuire laid down a great foundation with his program for the last six years, and we’ve got a lot of talent coming back,” McLaughlin said. “I couldn’t think of handing this program over to somebody we didn’t know and let someone else take it over. I want to do this because it’s a great place to coach, and we’ve got great kids and great coaches staying on staff, and I’m just really lucky.”
Daley shared a similar sentiment.
“You start with thinking about continuity and what’s best for the kids,” Daley said. “When you start thinking about that, you’ve got to look from within first, and we’ve certainly done that. It’s good for the kids. I think that’s how you look at making that decision. You throw the adults out of it and look at what’s best for the kids and how are we going to go about ensuring that they’re given every opportunity to succeed in the near future.
“To me, it was kind of a no-brainer.”
McLaughlin was the defensive coordinator under McGuire — who resigned and accepted a position as the offensive coordinator with Dickinson (North Dakota) State University — for all six seasons.
In those six years, the Rams won two state championships and finished runner-up twice.
McLaughlin won’t enter his new job as head coach without any experience leading a program. He has led the outdoor track and field team for the last six years and the indoor track and field team for the past four seasons.
McLaughlin will keep his position with the outdoor team while stepping down to an assistant coaching position with the indoor team.
Andrew Marcure will take over the reins of the indoor track and field team.
Other coaching notes at BH include Daley moving from his assistant coaching spot with the girls basketball team to head coach of the boys team, and assistant boys basketball coach Kip Butler will slide into the head coaching vacancy with girls basketball.