With an unexpected resignation of former football coach, Rick Wilson, NS has more changes up ahead. On Tuesday, March 8, a committee consisting of citizens, school board members, and teachers collaborated to interview 6 applying candidates. Among them, 22 year-old Rhett Bird was selected to be the returning head football coach for the 2016-2017 year.
“I coached this past year with the freshmen and it kind of ignited that spark inside of me,” Bird said. “[It] reminded me that I love football and this is what I want to do.”
Bird is a returning alumnus to North Sanpete. Having began as starting offensive lineman his freshmen year, he has had a lot of time on the NS football field.
“I grew up in this town and I played football at the high school,” Bird said.
Having been recently married, Rhett and wife, Quincey, have made plans to stay rooted in Sanpete, which was a large deciding factor in applying for this job. High school sweetheart, Quincey, is supportive and confident in his ability.
“It was something he’s always wanted to do,” Quincey Bird said, “so I said, ‘Go for it, I’ve got your back.’”
NS has gotten used to changing football coaches and the high turnover rate. Within the last 14 years, NS has seen seven coaches come and go. Bird being number eight, shows high expectations in sticking around as long as they can.
“I’d like to finish my career here,” Bird said.
Originally attempting to pursue a career in hospital administration, Bird is changing course to becoming a teacher. Currently tutoring elementary students, the ambitious coach hopes to earn a degree that will allow him to be more involved at NS.
“I would love to teach science,” Bird said.
Regardless of Bird’s young age, with admirable integrity and skill, Vice Principal Jeff Ericksen sees no reason to doubt him.
“He’ll have a learning curve,” Ericksen said. “He’s well loved by the young men. He’d be the person to lead and guide them in their lives, not just in football.”
Bird’s learning curve should be lessened with the help of his uncle, Dave Peck, who is a former Bingham High football coach and 10-time region champion. Peck began his career at North Sanpete at the age of 22 as well. Making NS region champions in 1984, Peck plans to return to call the defense this coming fall.
“I believe that the key word team is fundamental when it comes to the coaching staff,” Bird said, “we have to rely on each other as coaches.”
Many skeptics have vocalized the returning defensive caller to be a large deciding factor in Rhett’s selection.
“I’d be lying if I said he didn’t play a part,” Ericksen said, “but this was Rhett’s accomplishment.”
The young coach may not have the years to back him up, but he does have many people to help support him and the desire to learn.
“If I don’t have the experience or don’t have the knowledge, I’ve always got the passion to learn,”Bird said, “Everything that I’ve ever done in my life, I’ve always had the confidence that I could do it.”
Bird expects this year to be full of hard work for himself and the boys. He is ambitious to learn and get started on this coming season.