While a hiring committee came together and considered many applications to decide who would replace retiring 14-year veteran Kovi Christiansen as Morgan High School’s head football coach, it ultimately became a simple look down the sideline.
Jared Barlow was announced as Morgan’s next head football coach Wednesday, athletic director Kade Morrell confirmed.
Barlow has helped coach various sports and various football position groups at Morgan over the last 15 years. Most recently the defensive coordinator for the Trojans’ 2019 3A state championship run, the Morgan alum now gets his shot to run the program.
“For me personally, it means a lot,” Barlow said. “My goal was always to come back and teach in Morgan. The desire wasn’t necessarily to be the head football coach but just to be part of that community. I moved to Morgan late my junior year and fell in love with it, being part of that smaller community.”
Barlow spent five years at Roy High School helping coach football and track before going back to Morgan in 2005. He rattled off names like Blaine Monkres, Jan Smith, Fred Fernandes, Renn Hoopes and his predecessor, Christiansen, as he considered his place.
“Just to be part of that legacy to lead a program with a tradition like Morgan is really special,” Barlow said.
Morrell said the hiring committee received strong applications that came with good recommendations, but Barlow ultimately “brought some answers we were looking for.”
“We’re excited to see what he can bring and add to the program,” Morrell said.
Over 14 seasons, Christiansen led Morgan to a record of 108-45 with one state championship, two state runner-up finishes and four region championships (2008, 2016-18).
While discussions will take place over the next few weeks, Barlow anticipates most, if not all, of Morgan’s coaching staff to return next season, minus Christiansen and possibly one other. That means lots of continuity in offensive and defensive schemes — “just build on things we’ve been doing,” he said.
Morgan’s state title run came largely on the shoulders of a massive senior class — enough that many seniors only played on one side of the ball.
“That gave us an opportunity to really train and develop the younger players. Going against those guys every day in practice and seeing the example they set, and being able to incorporate those underclassmen into that group gave us a solid foundation this year,” Barlow said. “We had some key contributors who were juniors and they’ll be able to take that leadership role.
“As talented as we were last year in our senior group, I don’t know if we win a state championship without some of those juniors. We’re obviously going to be a bit younger, but they’ll wake up pretty quick and we should be OK.”