Douglas County hires Eric Rice to be its next football coach

Ponderosa Douglas County football

(Matt Daniels/

In hiring its next football coach, Douglas County turned to a veteran with decades of experience.

The Huskies have hired Eric Rice, who spent the past 16 seasons at Fort Collins, to head their program, athletic director Jeff Gardella said on Wednesday morning.

Rice was selected from a pool of nine finalists and more than 50 applicants.

"We were very deliberate in knowing what we were looking for and this is where we felt Coach Rice separated himself from the others with his unwavering work ethic, organizational skills, enthusiasm, as well as his dynamic leadership qualities," Gardella said in a press release.

Rice has been involved in high school football since 1996, where he got his first job at Santa Rosa High School in California. He returned home to Colorado in 1997, and was an assistant at Green Mountain from 1997-2001, helping the Rams win the 1999 4A championship.

Rice spent one season as defensive coordinator for the Rapid City Red Dogs of the National Indoor Football League in 2002, and became defensive coordinator at New Mexico Highlands University in the fall of 2002.

Then, in 2003, Rice was hired as the head coach at Fort Collins. He spent 16 seasons there, amassing a record of 100-72.

"He has a proven track record of success," Gardella said. "He is an organizer, a hard worker, a motivator, and an outstanding teacher. We feel like he will be a valuable ambassador for not only our football program, but within the walls of the school as well as within the community."

Rice replaces Gene Hill, who led the Huskies for the past five seasons.

Douglas County is coming off a 1-9 year in Class 5A.

Follow all of this offseason's movement in our football coaching changes tracker.