A-West, Ponderosa make football hires as coaching carousel continues to turn

Two further football openings were closed on Thursday when Arvada West hired Brad Pyatt and Pondoersa tapped Jaron Cohen.

Pyatt, an Arvada West grad, was part of the Wildcats' Class 5A 1997 championship team coached by Dave Logan. He played at Kentucky and Northern Colorado after high school, and then for parts of four seasons in the NFL -- mostly with the Indianapolis Colts.

Pyatt becomes the school's seventh coach in 50 years, but third in four years. Greg Whisler took over for longtime coach Casey Coons prior to the 2012 season, and went 7-13 in two seasons. A-West is 9-21 since 2011 and hasn't had a winning season since 2010, but was 11-2 as recently as 2009.

"We are excited and confident in what Brad will bring to the table in regard to leadership and an abundance of football knowledge," Arvada West said in a statement. "Brad’s main goal is to bring back the prominence of A-West Football, much like he experienced as a member of the 1997 state championship football team."

Cohen, meanwhile, moves over from a one-year stint at Hinkley. He confirmed the switch to the Aurora Sentinel on Thursday.

"I had to make a decision that was right for my family and Ponderosa will allow me to find balance in my life between teaching, coaching and being a husband and father to two young boys," Cohen told the Sentinel.

"Tough decision for sure," Cohen added later on Twitter. "I'm fired up to continue building on the Ponderosa tradition of excellence."

Hinkley went 5-5 last season. Prior to heading the Thunderbolts' program, Cohen was 24-27 in five seasons at Liberty.

Cohen will take over for Jamie Woodruff, who came out of retirement to return to the program in 2012. Ponderosa was 17-5 over the past two seasons.

The hires were just the latest in what's been a busy offseason.

Last Tuesday, Wheat Ridge announced the hire of Poudre's Dan Reardon to replace Reid Kahl. Reardon was 5-14 over the past two seasons at Poudre, and has a long history of coaching.

He spent seven years at Ursuline High School in Ohio, where he was 68-26 and won three state championships.

“Dan Reardon is a man of quality character and quality football knowledge and experience,” Wheat Ridge said in a statement. “He is an excellent role model that will help develop character and leadership with our students and athletes. He will be an asset to Wheat Ridge High School.”

Then on Wednesday, Lutheran shook up the small-school ranks when it hired Faith Christian's Blair Hubbard, who had been there since 1999. At Faith, Hubbard went 148-30 and won three state titles.

Those followed other hires this offseason like Gene Hill at Douglas County, Tyler Knoblock at Heritage, Jeff Priestley at Palmer, Rob Royer at Rampart and Jeremi Calip at Vista Ridge.

A number of high-profile jobs remain to be filled. Highlands Ranch is expected to announce its choice on Friday, and schools like Chaparral, Faith Christian, Fossil Ridge and Poudre remain without coaches. Find a complete list of 2013-14 coaching changes here.