Texas native brings 2 decades of coaching experience to Middle Park as new head football coach | SkyHiNews.com

Texas native brings 2 decades of coaching experience to Middle Park as new head football coach

Ryan Ledford talks with some of his players during one of his previous coaching stints.
Courtesy photo

Coming up:

The Panther football team kicked off the fall sports season with the first day of practice on Aug. 6. Their first game of the year will be held Aug. 24 against the Battle Mountain High School Huskies in Edwards. Their first home game of the year will be a rivalry game held Sept. 7 against the Estes Park Bobcats for control of the Trail Ridge Trophy.

Texas native Ryan Ledford is taking the helm for Middle Park High School’s football squad, coming to Grand County with two decades of coaching experience under his belt, most of which was spent in the ultra-competitive world of Texas high school athletics.

“I am extremely excited and thankful for the opportunity,” Ledford said of his new role with East Grand School District.

Along with his position as head football coach, Ledford will also serve as Middle Park High School’s full-time substitute teacher. Ledford said he believes his new position as a full-time substitute will allow him to be more involved in the daily activities of the school’s football players than he would otherwise be able to if his teaching duties focused on a particular subject.

His 15-year teaching career has been focused on social studies. He worked as the honors geography and world history teacher in Rifle for two years before making the move to Grand County. Before coming to Colorado, Ledford spent his coaching and teaching career in Texas. Originally from Houston, Ledford lived and worked in the Austin area for 22 years, working at three separate high schools during his time in the Lone Star state.

This year marks Ledford’s 21st year as a football coach. Before entering the coaching world, Ledford played high school football in Texas and spent two years playing at the collegiate level for Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas.

“I have coached every position offensively and defensively,” Ledford exclaimed. “I was a defensive coordinator in Texas for seven years, that’s where I earned my stripes as a coach.”

Ledford was initially drawn into the coaching world because of his deep love for the game of football. Over time though the relationships he has forged with young athletes has kept him coming back, season after season.

“The most rewarding and exciting part of coaching is the bonds and relationships that are formed,” he said. “Football is an outlet for the competitive side of me that is still burning. But it is definitely the relationships and being involved, on a direct level, in the community that is really important for myself and my family.”

Ledford already got a chance earlier this summer to meet his future players when he attended the local team’s summer football camp at the University of Northern Colorado. He said his outlook for the coming season is “extremely bright” and that he hopes to build on the momentum created by his predecessor, coach Brandon Wilkes.

“We have a really tight knit group of kids who care about each other,” Ledford said. “They play for each other and really love the game.”

Ledford said he is looking forward to the fall weather his team is likely to encounter this year, while playing at such high elevations in the mountains.

“I really hope that we experience some difficult weather up here,” he said. “Our kids are used to it and I think it could be an advantage. We are going to use it to our advantage any way we can. I like to go as fast as we can on offense at all times to gain a competitive edge.”

The coach and his family, including his wife, Terrell, and their 14-year-old son, moved to Granby last January. Wilkes brought Ledford onto the Panther’s coaching staff over the summer, to serve as defensive coordinator for the coming season. But after the Wilkes family decided to relocate to Florida in July, Ledford was selected as the new leader for the Panther football team.

Ledford said he hopes to get the community involved in the Panther football program as much as possible.

“We have a unique situation with lots of room for growth as far as community excitement,” Ledford said. “We want this to be something Grand County can be proud of.”

The Panther football team kicked off the fall sports season with the first day of practice on Aug. 6. Their first game of the year will be held Aug. 24 against the Battle Mountain High School Huskies in Edwards. Their first home game of the year will be a rivalry game held Sept. 7 against the Estes Park Bobcats for control of the Trail Ridge Trophy.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.