Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file photo
Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file photo
BAYFIELD – Marshall Hahn, the native son who revitalized Bayfield High School football, is heading east with his family.
Hahn, who led the Wolverines to the state championship game and a 13-1 record last season, announced Thursday he is taking a coaching/teaching position at Rogers High School in northwest Arkansas.
“After a great deal of soul-searching, we – as a family – decided it was time to start a new chapter in our lives,” Hahn said in a private interview with The Durango Herald.
“I got an opportunity to continue doing what I love ... coaching football and teaching high school,” said Hahn, who will be an assistant football coach at a school of 1,800 that competes in Arkansas’ largest school classification (7A).
“Size-wise, it had the feel of Durango ... Fruita Monument or Grand Junction,” said Hahn, who used to coach the Durango High School varsity wrestling team, too.
Hahn and his wife visited the community 30 miles north of Fayetteville after the school contacted him a few weeks ago about a coaching vacancy.
“Obviously, we live in a really great part of the country. So we were very selective in considering places we might relocate to,” said Hahn, who took over as the head football coach at BHS in 2007.
“That part of the country appealed to us because of proximity to family,” said Hahn, who has a sister and other relatives in Russellville, Ark.
Family friends relocated to nearby Springdale, Ark., a few years ago.
And something else appealed to Hahn, too.
“The level of importance placed on high school football in that part of the country is something. There’s a high level of excitement and anticipation (about high school football),” Hahn said.
“I feel really good about the quality of the staff I will become a part of,” said Hahn, who compiled a 46-12 record along with four state playoff appearances in five years as the Wolverines’ head coach.
“The facilities at Rogers High School are top-notch,” he said.
Back in his day as a player, Hahn led BHS to an undefeated season and a state championship in 1996 as an all-state option quarterback. A refined option offense became the hallmark of his Bayfield teams, which twice led the state in rushing.
Last season, Hahn’s offense yielded the state’s individual rushing leader: Bayfield fullback Aaron Velasquez, the first option in the fabled triple option.
Those rushing numbers weren’t lost on a Rogers High School football program that runs – surprise – the triple option offense.
While Hahn likely will start working with the defensive backs, he said the staff will cycle him into the triple option attack in coming years.
The transition in the classroom also will be exciting, Hahn said.
“I’m a science nerd, and that’s what I’ll be teaching,” he said.
The combination of a science opening and coaching vacancy, along with obvious economic implications, made the family decision a bit easier.
“But it’s still tough ... the kids are moving away from their grandparents. But we’re still excited,” said Hahn, who said a chat with his father reinforced their decision.
Hahn’s father uprooted the family from West Texas and relocated to Bayfield in the 1960s.
“And that move worked out incredibly well. What a great place to grow up for us,” Hahn said.
He’s excited about new opportunities in Arkansas for his wife, Heather, and their six children – Nathan, Keaton, Landon, Easton, Cooper and Silas.
“Part of what made the decision so tough is we had high expectations for this group coming back (at BHS),” Hahn said Thursday after addressing the members of his state runner-up football team.
“But, in some ways, that might have made the decision easier because you don’t feel like you’re leaving a bare cupboard,” Hahn said.
Breaking the news to the Wolverines was difficult and emotional.
“But I told them that this is an opportunity for growth on their part, just like it’s an opportunity for growth for me and my family.”
Steve Lewis/Durango Herald file photo