Kearns High School Football Coach Matt Rickards is the winningest football coach in Kearns High School historyl. The team has won regionals three years in a row.
In 2004 Rickards starting coaching at Cyprus High and for the last seven seasons has been at Kearns High.
Rickards has made a huge impact on his players. He and his staff have created a culture of respect within his team, which impacts these players long after high school.
Rickards got into coaching because his dad coached him though Little League baseball. One season, he helped coach his brothers’ Little League team. He learned how impactful coaching could be to kids.
“You can change kids’ lives and how they view themselves,” said Rickards.
Rickards instills much more than just football into his team.
“Our number one objective is to create men of integrity, discipline, character, have empathy towards others and serve their community for good. Everything is focused around that objective. If we win a game in the process we win, if we lose, we lose,” said Rickards.
There is a lot that Rickards knows that his team can control.
“We want to be elite in everything that we can control. Our focus is on controlling our effort, attitude and culture. Be the best person that you can be and having that integrity being responsible. Do it at an extraordinary level,” said Rickards.
Every season has different challenges and accomplishments. The 2019 team faced some adversity that kids should never face.
“I’m most proud of how they responded and not letting that affect them and getting down on themselves,” said Rickards.
The players responded in a positive way even though the events that occurred were negative, but the players actually let it strengthen them.
Being a coach can be a rewarding job, but it’s not always about winning. Rickards talked about seeing a kid, a group of kids, or a community do something that they didn’t necessarily believe that could accomplish, do or become. Throughout the season he watched them work to that level and saw the players have a sense of pride.
Rickards teaches his teams about team culture and why it is an important part of a team.
“The beliefs that our kids have, the behaviors they have and the experiences they have help them in understanding that they are representing something bigger,” said Rickards.
Carrying the value on in life after college is what coach Rickards hopes for. In a meeting with his seniors, he told them, “The season is over but the long game has just started. Five to 10 years from now, that’s going to really determine if they were really successful in our program.”