Jon Vance is no longer the Kelly Walsh High School football coach, a Natrona County School District spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday.
Vance’s status with the district is unclear. But following repeated inquires from the Star-Tribune, district spokeswoman Tanya Southerland confirmed the Kelly Walsh football coach position is open and the district is seeking applicants.
Vance was the second-winningest football coach in Kelly Walsh history.
When contacted prior to the district’s announcement, Vance had no comment.
A coach within the Kelly Walsh athletic department told the Star-Tribune prior to the district’s confirmation that Vance, who led the Trojans to the Class 4A semifinals in 2017, has been relieved of coaching duties. That source requested anonymity to discuss a personnel matter and because administrators have been told not to speak publicly about those decisions.
When asked about Vance’s status over the weekend, Kelly Walsh activities director AJ Nathan could neither confirm nor deny the news and directed questions to Southerland.
A timeline for finding Vance’s replacement is unclear.
Vance had been the head coach of the Trojans since 2011 and made the playoffs every year beginning with the 2012 season. Kelly Walsh went 32-43 under Vance, including last year’s tumultuous 3-7 season.
Coming on the heels of the Trojans’ first semifinal appearance since 2009, the Trojans started the season 2-1 with a gut-wrenching defeat to eventual state semifinalist Cheyenne East. The Trojans were then decimated by injury.
Super 25 running back Brock Spiegelberg injured his hip halfway through the season and did not play in the 17-10 loss to Cheyenne Central. Backup running back and linebacker Emory Yoosook missed time with an ankle injury. Starting quarterback Matt Hays suffered a back injury going into halftime against Sheridan and never returned, eventually leaving the Trojans’ offense in the hands of sophomore Esias Spillaine. Even standout tackle Connor Shopp moved to center in the middle of the season to fill in for injured teammates.
Vance was the 10th head football coach in Kelly Walsh’s 54-year history. His 32 wins tied him with Jim Horne for second-most in program history behind Tom Staffileno’s 37 victories.
During Vance’s tenure the Trojans were 2-6 against rival Natrona County in the Oil Bowl. The Mustangs won three state championships during that stretch, including in 2018.
Kelly Walsh has not won a state championship since 1981.