With the high school football season set to start in one week, Rocky Mountain moved quickly to replace its head coach.
Defensive coordinator Chris Culig was promoted to the Grizzlies’ top position Monday. He takes over for Scott Criner, who resigned last week to become the activities director at Eagle High.
This is Culig’s first head coaching position.
“Getting used to some of the administrative stuff is a little bit overwhelming, but the football stuff I’m not worried about,” Culig said. “I think the kids are ready to go. They’re hungry. They’re excited.”
Culig, who played defensive back at Cal Lutheran, has coached in the college and high school ranks. He was a graduate assistant at Boise State for five seasons under Skip Hall before becoming the defensive backs and defensive line coach at Idaho State during Brian McNeely’s tenure.
It should be a relatively seamless transition from Criner to Culig for Rocky players.
The two have a long coaching relationship, beginning in 2002 when Culig joined Criner’s staff at Timberline. They then moved to Eagle and finally Rocky Mountain. Culig was a part of Eagle’s 2009 state championship team and Rocky’s first title in 2015.
“He’s really been the head coach of the defense, if you will, for the last four years. Scott pretty much ran the offense, and Chris ran the defense, so he has a familiarity with the system,” Rocky Mountain Athletic Director Troy Rice said. “Chris is a very competitive and fiery guy, so we like that spark. We believe that he relates well to kids, and he’s 100 percent vested already in the Rocky program. He’s an all-in type of guy.”
In June, Maxpreps chose Rocky Mountain as its preseason pick for the best squad in Idaho in 2017.
Culig hopes to make that prediction stand up.
“I think we have a chance to be really good. I feel like that every year. I think every coach does,” Culig said.