Students see athletics director Julian as a role model


Julian leads players out onto the field for the championship game. (Photo Brian Rizer)

Between fishing and hunting birds, Athletic Director Don Julian usually has a busy day at Sheridan High School. Not only does he direct all athletic clubs within the high school, he also coached Bronc football for eleven consecutive seasons.

As an Athletic Director, his duties include the supervision of every sport within SHS. This ranges from conducting and organizing meetings with players and coaches to solve problems that may occur within the team to making sure every team has everything they need to succeed. Student athletes also come in and out of his office for any questions that they need to be answered. Because Julian has a whole school day, he starts work early in the morning in order to stay organized and finish the immense amount of work he is given.

In high school, Julian kept himself busy with a multitude of sports. These sports he participated in included football, basketball, track, and wrestling. Also, Julian was involved in extracurricular clubs such as Student Council as student body president, a multitude of leadership camps, and was active within his church. Participating in all of these programs provided Julian useful skills in life as well as making his high school career enjoyable. “I think being a part of activities was a big part of my life and probably why I am doing what I’m doing now,” said Julian.

In college he further pursued his interest in sports and leadership at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo. Not only did he compete in wrestling for U.W., but he also was on the rifling team for a short time. In 1989, his first year out of college, Julian student taught and helped coach that fall at Star Valley Junior High School in Afton, Wyo. He also coached one year in Dean Morgan Junior High School in Casper, Wyo., eleven seasons at the high school in Riverton, Wyo., and five seasons at the University of Wyoming. Not only did he coach football, he also coached wrestling for the majority of the time in Riverton.

Leading a consecutive three-year state champion high school football team is surely not easy, but Julian definitely enjoyed the challenges he faced. “I think coaching is all about helping a group of kids, or an individual, become better at something,” said Julian. To do this, one of the key factors is to build strong relationships and be on a constant path for improvement. “He is more than a coach, he is a father figure,” said senior Connor Jorgenson. “He teaches you the little things in life and tells us to cherish every little moment, he’s always positive, and even if he gets after you, it’s just to get you better.” The amount of an impact that Julian has had on, not only the football players, but high school students in general has affected them in a positive way. It has even affected futures for some students. “He is the reason we have been where we are the last three years,” said senior Blayne Baker. “He is definitely a big reason why I’m going to go play college football…There is no guy that I would have rather played for the past four years.”

Through football, the coach-to-player relationship is all about respect, trust, and not wanting to let one another down. The football athletes must trust the coaches to prepare them for upcoming games, create game plans, and put the players in that they believe will perform to their standards. As the athletes trust the coaches, the coaches have to trust the athletes. The coaches have to trust that their athletes will give everything they have with passion as well as spend the time and energy to do what the coaches say.

Not only is trust an impact on players, but superstitions are as well. Superstitions and rituals are a part of every sport. Whether it be doing a specific exercise before a game or a certain process, it is definitely a part of Bronc football. “There are patterns we follow, including our players.” A ritual that has caught on is the game day diet. It all started on away games when Julian packed lunchables and cheese snacks for the players, and as the team started winning games, players began to eat the same diet for home games. Another ritual is, during practice, when Julian starts the music at a specific time. “It’s not so much a superstition anymore; it’s more of a routine I follow,” said Julian.

The one piece of wisdom that Julian wants to pass down to the entire student body is for everyone to be involved within the high school. Although Julian was more involved in sports and is the Athletic Director of SHS, he strives for students to follow their own passions. Whether it be within the performing arts, the Future Business Leader of America program, music department, speech and debate, or any other club, he believes that there is room for everyone to participate in something. “To be involved in something, it stretches you,” said Julian. “It forces you to decide, ‘Am I going to put in the time that it’s going to take to get better at this, or not.’” Learning to work hard to get better at something creates more appreciation and value for the club or sport one could be doing. Also, participating in these activities teaches students how to work hard and get through tough and stressful situations in the future.

Known as role model, companion, and coach, Mr. Julian has made a giant impact within the high school.