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Tom Mix, Published May 07 2013

West Fargo Sheyenne hires four head coaches

WEST FARGO – West Fargo Sheyenne High School activities director Ross Richards has had a busy month. And as of Tuesday, he now has coaches on his athletic staff.

Richards announced the hiring of head coaches in football, volleyball and boys and girls basketball at Sheyenne, which officially opens next fall.

Jeremy Newton, a 1992 Moorhead High School graduate, has been named head football coach. Newton’s wife, Leah Newton, will be the head coach of the volleyball team. Tom Kirchoffner has been named the boys basketball coach, and Brent Hintz will coach the girls basketball team.

“It has been a whirlwind of a month,” Richards said. “We are excited to finally get some qualified, experienced and energetic people in front of our patrons, parents and athletes. It is the first step of many steps that we are going to have to take, but it is one of the most important.”

Sheyenne High School is in the process of being phased in over the next three years, one grade level at a time. Starting next fall, the school will house a freshman and a sophomore class. The school’s transition will be complete in 2015-16 when this year’s freshmen become the school’s first graduating class.

The Sheyenne football, volleyball and boys and girls basketball teams are scheduled to begin varsity level-competition in the Eastern Dakota Conference in 2014-15.

Jeremy and Leah Newton each teach and coach in the Los Lunas, N.M., school district, which is a suburb of Albuquerque.

Jeremy Newton, who will be employed as a physical education teacher at Sheyenne, coached the Los Lunas High School football team the last three seasons, compiling a 30-6 record, including a 12-1 mark last fall and an appearance in the Class 4A state championship game.

“I’m very excited to be coming to Sheyenne,” Newton said. “It is hard to be leaving my current team, but it will be fun coming up and getting things started at Sheyenne.”

The year before Newton took over at Los Lunas, the Tigers were 1-12.

“We were fortunate to have several excellent qualified candidates apply for that job,” Richards said. “What made Jeremy stand out was the fact that he has experience in taking a program that had struggled and then building it into a winning program in a very short period of time.

“The track record that he had and the success that he had were some things that were very appealing to us,” Richards added.

This fall, Sheyenne will field a junior varsity football team made up of sophomores and select freshmen.

“I think it will be a good experience for those sophomores and freshmen this fall,” Newton said. “The sophomores will have three years of varsity coaching and will be able to learn the system while at the same time establishing the Sheyenne football tradition.”

“We will have to be very careful with the situations we expose those athletes to,” Richards added. “But at the same time, we understand the next year we are going to be in the Eastern Dakota Conference playing varsity football.”

Leah Newton, who is from Starbuck, Minn. and will be employed in the West Fargo school district, also had a successful tenure coaching at Los Lunas. She coached the school’s varsity volleyball team the last two seasons. During that time, the team won 80 percent of its matches and was undefeated in district play.

“Much like her husband, Jeremy, she has a solid track record,” Richards said.

Kirchoffner is a physical education and health teacher at Sheyenne and has been an assistant with the West Fargo basketball program since 2011. He was the freshman boys basketball coach at Sheyenne this year.

“It’s very exciting to be starting up a program at Sheyenne,” Kirchoffner said. “I coached the freshman team this year, and I’m just looking to build off of that. These kids are great to work with.”

Kirchoffner, a 2001 Bismarck Century graduate, graduated from the University of Mary where he played football and threw javelin. He was an assistant track and field coach at Bismarck and was an assistant football coach at Century in 2007.

Hintz served as the head girls basketball coach at Grand Forks Central the last six seasons. Prior to his time coaching the Knights, Hintz coached at Sheridan County.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562