Smoky Hill Introduces New Football Coach

Tom Thenell comes in and brings a winning record in with him


Jair Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Wednesday, March 7, Smoky Hill introduced the new head football coach to the team. Former Mullen head coach Tom Thenell will be leading the Buffaloes next season. Thenell is a Colorado native who attended Mullen High School and graduated in 1980.

Thenell’s football resume is extensive. Thenell started off as a head coach at Bear Creek from 1992-2011, where he had a record of 147-81. In his 20 seasons at Bear Creek, he took the team to the playoffs 18 times, and made two 5A state championship appearances.

After leaving Bear Creek, Thenell coached at his home school of Mullen in 2011, and stayed there until 2017 leaving behind a record of 34-31. Mullen’s best season with Thenell as head coach was in 2016 when they went 9-3 and reached the quarterfinals.

Thenell seemed ready for the position. “The reason I left Mullen when I did is because the people that hired me to do a job.  I was hired to do certain things, and I believe I achieved all those things. It was time for me to take a deep breath and take a step back, and then reassess what’s the next challenge I’m looking forward to, what’s the next challenge I wanna take on, and [coaching at Smoky] was the best situation for me.  “
He was also a head basketball coach for three years of basketball at Mullen, and was an offensive coordinator before he ever was a football head coach. He also taught Physical Education at both schools.

Trust, discipline, hard work, smart work, leadership, unselfishness, loyalty, confidence, humility, and fun were all things Thenell touched on during the meeting.  Thenell believes this list of attributes, which were created by his 1992 Bear Creek team, are all keys to success inside and outside the classroom.

Thenell went over a list of expectations for the players. “You have to do what’s right, honest, and good.” Thenell said. “Don’t expect me to lie to you, because I am never going to lie to you in hopes that you’ll never lie to me.”

Smoky Hill’s Athletic Director John Thompson showed some excitement about the hire.   “Thenell, along with all the other applicants, were very good candidates. We were looking for someone with head coaching experience, which a lot of the candidates also had, but his knowledge of the landscape and Colorado football is what set him apart.”

Practice for the Buffaloes starts officially in August, but Thenell really stressed players participating in a spring sport or getting in the weightroom with the rest of the players that are already there.