SHIPROCK — The Shiprock High School football team will enter the 2013 season with a familiar face in charge.
Storm Tallbull, a 2007 Shiprock graduate, has returned to his alma mater to take over the head coaching duties for the Chieftains.
"I'm very excited to be a part of the program in my hometown," Tallbull said. "Being a head coach is new, but I'm enjoying it so far."
After graduating from Shiprock, Tallbull played for Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., and served there as a defensive assistant for two and a half years.
He is hoping that his collegiate experience will carry over in his first head coaching job.
"At this level, it's really about finding out what the boys can do and what kind of athletes we have," Tallbull said. "At the college level, you can recruit, but in high school we're limited, so we'll design our offense and defense around what we have."
After missing out on the playoffs the last two years, Tallbull knows it won't be an easy task getting the Chieftains back into the postseason.
"We want to compete within our district, but my very first goal is having the guys work together and realize we're a family," he said.
Tallbull will take over for Don Story, who led the Chieftains to an 11-9 record in his two seasons with the program.
Story took the job as Shiprock's athletic director and believes Tallbull is the right guy to move the Chieftains forward into the upcoming season.
"During his interview, he came really well prepared," Story said. "We hope he can be good role model for these kids. He has good ideas on what to do with the program."
Story was named athletic director in late June and is ready for a new opportunity.
"They came to me and asked if I'd take the job," he said. "I'm excited about it. I used to be an athletic director in Dolores, Colo., in the '70s and I enjoyed it."
Story knew that taking the new job would require him to step down as head coach, but after nearly 50 years of coaching, he said he was ready for the transition.
"In a district this size, there are just too many thing to do to be a coach and the A.D.," Story said. "I got my first head coaching job was in 1966, so I figure I've been to enough practices and on long bus rides."
Joshua Perry covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.