A new face will be leading the Juneau School District’s football team next season.
In an email Friday, JSD Chief of Staff Kristin Bartlett confirmed the district is in the process of finding a replacement for Randy Quinto, who was tabbed as the merged Juneau-Douglas-Thunder Mountain High School team’s first head coach last winter.
Quinto resigned from the post on Oct. 31, approximately one month after the season ended, according to JSD Director of Human Resources Darryl Smith.
“He had looked at it as a time to maybe move on and do something else,” Smith said by phone Friday. “I think one of the huge pieces for Juneau is having somebody in there that will really look at the fundraising piece. I wish we had an easy answer for that one — it’s just so expensive living here in the Southeast to get that many players to other places to play football.”
Quinto did not respond to the Empire’s request for comment.
Financial hardship is nothing new for Juneau’s football programs. At the end of the 2017 season, the JDHS and TMHS football programs were a combined $159,000 in debt, according to then director of student services Bridget Weiss.
As of noon Thursday, there have been no applicants for the position, said Smith. The job is currently only open to teachers in the district, but if there are still no applicants by the end of the week, the district will begin accepting applicants from the community at-large.
“What I would say is they need to be outgoing,” Smith said. “They’ll have to have a really close relationship with football boosters and a willingness to reach out to the community for assistance.”
On top of tackling team finances, the new coach will also be charged with steadily raising the program’s competition level. Juneau United was winless in its inaugural season, finishing last in the five-team Chugach Conference that also included Bartlett, Colony, Wasilla and Chugiak. It came close to upsetting Chugiak in Week 6, but costly turnovers kept the Mustangs in front, and blowout losses to Colony and Bartlett followed to close out the season.
One bright spot for the team was the junior varsity program, which defeated Lathrop and Colony at home and Wasilla on the road. Low numbers prevented JDHS and TMHS from forming junior varsity units in the years leading up to the merger, increasing the potential risk of injury for young players.
“This is the team of the future right here,” JV coach Vince Yadao said at the end of the season. “I think as far as being competitive and winning seasons, we give the squad two more years to develop, I think we’re right there. I think we’ll playing in October within two years just because of what we saw this year.”
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.