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UPDATED: Steen to replace Barrett at Great Falls

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By Travis Jenkins

Great Falls didn’t have to look very long for a new football coach, because they didn’t have to look very far.

Scotty Steen, who has been an assistant coach at Great Falls for 19 years, was named the head football coach on Wednesday. He replaces John Barrett, who resigned last month after a year on the job for personal and family reasons.

“This still feels like a dream,” Steen said. “It’s something I’ve been thinking about, praying about and talking to my family about for a while.”

Steen said he actually did apply for the position last year, marking the first time he’s ever put in for a head coaching job.

“I was inspired to after I read a book called ‘Think and Grow Wise’ by Napoleon Hill. Everyone should read that book. It really opened up my eyes,” he said.

Steen is a Great Falls native. He played for Coach Danny Sawyer at the school, graduated in 1990 and got a position coaching at Great Falls Middle School later the same year. At that time, John Smith, the legendary Red Devils basketball coach, was actually doubled as the middle school football coach. Steen left for a few years to coach at McCormick and Goose Creek, but returned in 2002, where he has served as a wide receivers coach, an offensive line coach, an offensive coordinator and the assistant head coach. He’ll be the third coach in three years for the program and the stability he figures to offer was part of what made him an attractive candidate, according to Jimmy Duncan, Great Falls’ athletic director.

“He graduated from here, he lives here, he’s a part of this community. He’s been here when were going undefeated and when we’ve struggled,” Duncan said.

According to Duncan, players “about lost it” when Steen was introduced as the new coach. He said he was humbled to see them so excited.

“I had my first opportunity to address the team as head coach. I think I set the foundation for what we want to do. It went really well,” Steen said.

Steen said his philosophy is centered around “the three A’s” of attitude, academics and athletics. In terms of attitude, he said he told players he expected them to work hard and comport themselves with class both on the field and in the community. In terms of academics he wants a “a can do” attitude in the classroom.

“Athletically, we have maybe been not as big, fast or strong as our competition the past few years. We want to change that. We want players in the weight room and we want them running track or playing baseball. We want to make sure we give ourselves the best chance to succeed,” he said.

Great Falls has won only one game in the past two years and has struggled with numbers. However, 35 potential players came to the gym for Steen’s introduction as coach. In terms of philosophy, Steen said he plans to keep the spread offense that Barrett installed last year, but will feature a heavier emphasis on the running game.

Steen said he could never have imagined, when he wore the red and black himself, that he’d one day be leading the program.

“It’s something I’d always hoped for,” he said. “Everybody who played for (Coach Sawyer) wanted to be Coach Sawyer. I wish he was around now to see this.”

Steen has worked under four head coaches: Sawyer, Barrett, Ken Schofield and Dan Dickerson. He said he hopes to live up to the standards he learned from all four.

“We’re going to work to put a product on the field this community can be proud of,” he said.