KIRTLAND— Kirtland Central High School has named Brian Dowdy as the head coach for the boys basketball program.
Dowdy spent three years as an assistant under former head coach John Zecca, who stepped down at the end of the 2013-14 season after coaching the Broncos to a 20-7 record and reaching the 4A quarterfinals.
Originally from Snowflake, Ariz., Dowdy returns to Kirtland after spending the past two years in Silver City, finishing his degree at Western New Mexico University where he majored in history. Dowdy said he hopes to take on a teaching position after finishing his master's, which he is currently working toward.
"I think he's going to be a great fit in the Kirtland community, and I think he's going to be a great coach," Kirtland Central athletic director Cecil Linnens said of Dowdy, pointing to the new coach's experience in the program.
It's that experience as an assistant at Kirtland Central that gives Dowdy confidence heading into his first head coaching job.
"I know some of the boys, and I'm familiar with the area and culture and the history of Kirtland's basketball programs," Dowdy said. "The boys program had kind of been down for a little while before coach Zecca got going the last couple of years. So I'm trying to pick up where he left off and build on it."
Last season the Broncos averaged more than 61 points per game, something Dowdy hopes to carry over to this season by speeding up the game with a full court press to create easy, transition buckets and using the team's size to control the paint.
"With our district it will be interesting because in district play I don't think we'll be a small team, I think we'll be one of the bigger teams," Dowdy said. "But I know on the state level that won't always be the case, so we'll have some different looks that we'll throw at teams. I definitely like the up-tempo style but want to work on building some confidence in the half-court game as well, so when we run into that later, we'll be prepared for it."
Dowdy has been running open gyms during the summer to help develop his team, who possess little varsity experience following last year's senior laden team, to run and control a half-court offense.
"At first I thought, man they graduated eight, and graduated Christian Mackey. Losing someone like that, who's a powerhouse, you're not going to replace someone like that," Dowdy said of Mackey, who recently signed with the University of Denver. "But that's high school basketball, we're going to graduated kids every year so you can't use that as an excuse."
Dowdy wants to implement a system that will make the Broncos to a powerhouse program that contends for state titles year after year.
"I want to restore some of those boys state championships," Dowdy said. "I want to take the old from Kirtland and build upon that, and create our own tradition and create a system that turns out top teams every year."