Park City High School staff and football players were shocked to learn on Wednesday that head coach Brandon Matich was resigning after being offered a similar position at East High School. Matich will remain at PCHS to teach through the remainder of the school year, but his resignation as the football coach is effective immediately.
"It’s a hard loss for us," PCHS athletic director Doug Payne said. "We understand his choice to move and I certainly support him. It’s going to be the best move for him. And I wish him the best of luck – unless we play East."
Matich, who was offered positions at both East and Cottonwood high schools, said he did not seek out either position, and was "surprised" and "humbled" when the offers were made. Matich lives just a few blocks from East and has been commuting to Park City every day.
Matich chose East in part because his grandfather coached there for over 20 years and his family has a long history with the Leopards. Matich, who was named the Utah high school football coach of the year in 2009, has been with the Miners for five years and said it was a difficult decision to make.
"There have been a lot of parents that have been very supportive (while at PCHS)," Matich said. "The Walkers, Rutans, Vincents, Henrys, Chynoweths, and so many others have made my job very rewarding. The things they’ve done for me and given me over my time here has been unrepayable. I’ll always admire them for that."
Matich leaves behind a legacy at PCHS, Payne said, and a group of athletes who aren’t ready to see him leave.
"(Matich) is the reason I’m playing Air Force football," said Jared Tew, a PCHS graduate who was a junior when Matich started as head coach. "There wasn’t really a weight program in Park City. He came in and developed it. I gained 50 pounds and totally changed from junior to senior year. That huge jump is the reason I’m still playing today. We struggled the first year. People weren’t ready to work and he got everyone together and decided we’re going to work hard."
Matich’s staff was equally disappointed to hear the news, but so far, at least two assistant coaches have decided to follow him, with more considering the option. Defensive coordinator Gary Bowers and running back coach Mikey Collins have both committed to following Matich. Collins has been with PCHS for eight years.
"We’ll miss Park City football," Collins said. "Everyone at Park City High School has been great to me."
Collins, who also owns Coach’s Sport Bar in Park City, said he will commute to the valley and keep his restaurant open. The restaurant may be closed once the city remodels the Racquet Club.
"Coach’s will remain open until the city decides different, which is also a big reason I am looking to move on," he said. "I’m (also) excited for Coach Matich and excited to be a part of his new staff."
Payne said that, as of Friday, seven people had called him asking to submit their applications for the position of head football coach, including previous PCHS football coach Mike Shepherd, who resigned in 2004. However, Payne said the final decision will have a lot to do with whether or not PCHS can offer the new coach a teaching position. Payne would not comment further on what will happen with Matich’s teaching position in the weight room next year except to say that budget cuts may have a factor and a consolidation with the PE department may be necessary.
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