Moving to the western part of the United States has been a dream of Randy Kerns for the past three or four years, and it’s about to become a reality.
That’s because the native of West Manchester, Ohio, was recently named the new head football coach at Mountain Crest. Kerns will take over for Jason Lee, who was let go after five seasons at the Mustang helm.
“Really for me (what stood out) was the history of the school and the program itself. I know there’s eight state championship appearances in its history and a (trip to the) state finals about two or three years ago, so I think just that history there and that legacy that they’ve had at Mountain Crest (was really enticing),” Kerns said when asked why he felt Mountain Crest was the right fit for him.
Kerns has spent the past two seasons as the head coach at Fairborn (Ohio) High School. The 34-year-old has also been the head coach at two other Ohio high schools — Swanton from 2017-18 and National Trail, his alma mater, from 2015-16.
Kerns is finishing the 2020-21 academic year as a teacher at Fairborn and plans on moving to Cache Valley in May or June. When asked if he has any ties to Cache Valley or Utah, Kerns said “absolutely none,” while laughing.
“This is one of those things about three or four years ago I just had this desire, this dream to get out west and I started inquiring about and researching (coaching jobs),” Kerns said. “And I would put in for some jobs, but then after this past year with the good year we had, I had a lot more interest. But part of it was I just wanted different experiences in my life. ... I’m a big outdoors guys and all of that, and I was like, ‘man, what better place to go.’ That’s some of the most beautiful stuff in the world out there (in Northern Utah).”
Kerns’ interest in the Mountain Crest opening was piqued after he talked to the defensive coordinator at Park City. He also interacted with some other coaches online while researching the position.
“It’s a great region for football up there,” Kerns said. “I mean, you’ve got really high competition with Ridgeline and Sky View and Logan and those other teams, so I was like, ‘man, that sounds like a great job.’ And so I just started inquiring.”
The former Earlham College quarterback and baseball player helped rebuild a Fairborn program that went 15-59 during the seven seasons prior to his arrival. The Skyhawks won three games during Kerns’ first season at the helm and went 6-1 during a COVID-19 shortened 2020 campaign. Kerns praised an experienced coaching staff for Fairborn’s success this past fall.
What should Mountain Crest fans expect from a Kerns-coached team?
“I’m sort of a throwback in a way,” Kerns said. “I’m a younger guy, but I’m a throwback. I’m a high energy guy, I like my teams to play with high effort and with a lot of physicality. I’m big on physicality and creating a highly competitive environment. And so I’d definitely say you’re going to see old-school toughness and physicality is really what I like to build my program on.”
Kerns will be tasked with helping turn around a Mountain Crest program that is only three years removed from a 4A state championship game appearance, but went 2-9 in 2020.
When asked what base offense and defense he will bring to the Hyrum-based school, Kerns said: “In my career so far, I’ve been a wing-T guy (offensively) and I’ve been a 3-4 guy (defensively). However, there’s nobody (in Utah) that runs that offense. ... But I also played spread quarterback in college. I love to throw the ball around and get the ball out in space, and create some trick plays and things like that. And so I haven’t quite decided (what I’ll do at Mountain Crest). Once I get my coordinators situated, we’ll kind of sit down and iron that out.”
Kerns did stress “I’m not like a three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust guy, but time of possession is important to me, limiting turnovers is important to me.”
The former National Trail High School three-sport athlete (football, baseball and basketball) is also a social studies teacher and has a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in teaching — both from Earlham, which is located in Richmond, Indiana. In addition to being a quarterback, Kerns pitched for Earlham’s baseball team. The Quakers compete in all sports at the NCAA Division-III level.
Coaching and teaching is something Kerns takes a great deal of pride in.
“Since I was in the ninth grade, I don’t think I ever wanted to do anything else but teach and coach,” he said. “Like a lot of us (coaches and teachers), I had some great teachers, and my eighth-grade history teacher and my ninth-grade English history were hugely important, and they were both coaches as well. And then it’s just one of those things where I can’t imagine not being in sports and not being involved in things that I love. People that aren’t, I’m like, ‘I don’t no how you live, but OK.’”