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MISSOULA — Polson football will be getting a taste of the college game as it tries to rebuild its program under the direction of a new coach.
The Pirates have hired Kaden Glinsmann, a former Carroll College assistant coach and Montana Western grad, as its next head coach, athletic director Jay Krantz told 406mtsports.com. Glinsmann was approved by the school board on Monday night for his first head coaching job.
“This is a perfect storm as far as Polson football,” said Glinsmann, who’ll be teaching physical education at the school. “I’m very fortunate to take over a program with tradition that has been very successful in the past.
“For me, I’m going to try to bring back the competition level, being able to really implement competing in everything we do because that’s the way I was brought up. When I think about myself taking over a program, it all boils down to can I get these kids to be good people, be good men and can we compete in everything we do.”
Glinsmann’s strengths that stood out during the interview process were his experience at the high school and college levels, as well as his attitude, said Don Toth, the incoming athletic director who’ll replace Krantz this summer and was involved in the hiring process.
Glinsmann spent the 2018 season as an assistant coach at Carroll College, working with the secondary and long snappers. He briefly coached at Bethel College in Kansas before that. Prior to joining the college ranks, the Nevada native was an assistant coach at Heights High School in Wichita, Kansas, from 2015-17 and at Helena High from 2010-14.
“He has a diverse background coaching at different levels, and that’s going to set him up to help kids move on to the next level because he knows what colleges are looking for,” said Toth, who was an assistant football coach for Polson under the previous two coaches. “With his experience, I think the kids will probably feel more confident behind him when he’s leading us.
“He does have a lot of energy. I can feel it. He’s a person that has a good charisma and a good energy behind him. We were looking to get somebody to provide a spark that’s needed.”
Glinsmann replaces Pat Danley, who went 2-15 in two seasons. Polson finished 2-8 in the Northwest A, which features Columbia Falls, the state champ in 2017 and a state semifinalist in 2018.
The Pirates were the conference champs and a state qualifier as recently as 2016, and Glinsmann sees the potential for a return to competitiveness. He was sold on Polson because of the genuine dedication to turn around the program that he saw among the administration, community and parents.
Glinsmann and Toth acknowledged that the biggest challenge is building and sustaining depth on the team. As for the type of kids Glinsmann is hoping to develop, it’s all about having a competitive fire.
“You’re looking for guys who have a strong work ethic and integrity, guys who are willing to compete and don’t care really care about the wins and losses, per se,” Glinsmann said. “When you find a collection of those guys, usually you find a winning program.”
Glinsmann foresees running a simple defense that plays with speed because of the expected lack of depth and need for two-way players early on. He’s put together most of his staff — just two coaches from last year are back, Toth said — and he’s done so in a way that’ll allow him to focus on coaching the offense.
“I’m going to run a version of what Tony (Arntson) ran at Helena High,” Glinsmann said. “We’re going to put an emphasis on running the ball, but we’re going to be spread, and that’s just to get our best players on the field.”
Glinsmann credited his experience working under Arntson at Helena High and Mike Van Diest at Carroll College, as well as other out-of-state coaches, for setting him up to be a head coach.
“I felt like this was my time to lead a program,” Glinsmann said. “I’ve learned under so many good head coaches. I think it just prepared me. When you get to be in a room with guys that just have such a wealth of knowledge of football and how to build programs and the right way to do things, at some point you just say to yourself, ‘Hey, why not me? Why can’t I implement these things?’”