Jay Hamric named interim head coach for SSHS football team

Jay Hamric is the interim head coach for the Steamboat Springs High School football team for the 2021 season. (Photo by Shelby Reardon)

Jay Hamric will officially head the 2021 Steamboat Springs High School football team. He’ll do so on an interim basis, becoming the third head coach in three years for the Sailors. Hamric also holds the position as director of teaching and learning for the Steamboat Springs School District, a position that means a lot to him. Balancing the two will be tricky, but he wanted the players to have a coach that cared.

“I didn’t want to see the program take a step backward this year by not having a coach or someone who can’t commit fully to the program,” Hamric said. “Coaching takes a lot of time and energy and effort. I care greatly about these kids. I care greatly about the program. I care greatly about the high school and our entire district. … My hope is I’ll be able to balance it all out.”

Hamric was on the interview committee to fill the position, but the job was not getting filled. He felt that, in order for the program to succeed, work had to begin in June or July to prepare for August football. So, when the position was still vacant in early summer, Athletic Director Luke DeWolfe offered Hamric the position, saying he’ll be a stabilizing force.

“I think Jay, more than anything, will bring a lot of positive energy,” DeWolfe said. “I think he is one of those people who can really form positive relationships with kids and has done that throughout his career in the district. I think kids really buy into Jay and will buy into what he brings as a head coach to the football team.”

Hamric is already hard at work building the foundation of the 2021 team. He plans to have team-building activities and off-season workouts. This will be his first head coaching job, but he’s been a coach and in the football world for many years.

Hamric was a quarterback in high school and was a fullback for William and Mary in college. He then went to Florida to coach for a year before moving overseas. There was no opportunity to coach football where he was, but he coached just about every other sport. Eventually, he moved to West Virginia, where he coached youth football and volunteered with the Tucker County football program.

Four years ago, the Hamric family moved to Steamboat, a town they had fallen in love with while traveling. Hamric was the assistant principal at Steamboat Springs Middle School for a year.

“I’m learning a lot, but with my background and experience and network of coaches, I will do my best to develop a strong program for Steamboat Springs High School,” Hamric said.

Through his work with the school and having high-school aged kids, Hamric already knows a lot of the football players. He’s hoping those relationships can help the transition period and help the players trust him and respect him as a coach.

The Sailors haven’t had a winning season since 2009. Turning the program around is obviously a goal, but Hamric doesn’t want himself or the team to dwell on that.

“We want to set goals that are realistic and achievable. We’ve had a senior meeting, and the seniors set some goals for us and one of them being to have a winning season,” Hamric said. “That’s a big goal for us. That’s something I hope we’ll be able to achieve. We do know building the program to a winning season takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of effort. It takes a lot of commitment.”

Whether the team wins or loses doesn’t matter to Hamric or DeWolfe. They are just happy that the players will have a coach that cares about them at least for this year.

“I don’t necessarily gauge any of our programs by wins or losses, either. I think that’s not what high school sports are about,” DeWolfe said. “That’s an important component, but within that, when you create a real solid foundation and create high expectations and great character components, that’s ultimately what we want our kids to come away with. Jay can do that.”

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