When Ryan Krull resigned from his job as head football coach at Carmichaels High School in 2019, he said it was because he was following a gut feeling.
But he left open the option of coming back to coaching one day.
That day has arrived as Krull recently decided to return to the Mikes as head football coach.
“My plan was to serve our student-athletes as athletic director,” Krull said. “That ended up falling through. Sometimes, when God closes one door, he opens another. And this opportunity has presented itself and it’s my intention to take full advantage of this opportunity.”
The first time Krull left was after a seven-year stay at Carmichaels. The Mikes were 31-19 in the first five years playing in Class A including a combined 15-6 record in years four and five which included the program’s last conference championship and first playoff win since 2002.
Carmichaels was bumped up to Class AA into the Interstate Conference in the final two years of Krull’s first stint and went 2-7 and 4-5. Krull stepped down with a 37-31 overall record and four playoff appearances.
Krull had replaced longtime Carmichaels coach John Menhart prior to the 2013 season. When Krull left in 2019, the district’s board promoted Mikes’ defensive coordinator Ron Gallagher to the head coach position.
The Mikes were 20-9 overall and 0-2 in the postseason in three years under Gallagher and finished second or tied for second all three years in the Tri-County South.
When Gallagher left via resignation two months ago, the so-called door opened for Krull’s return.
“The thing I’m looking forward to the most is being around the players,” Krull said. “That’s the flat-out best part of it, building relationships with those guys, watching those guys develop. That’s really the ultimate.”
Before Krull agreed to the position, he checked with a higher power.
“My wife and I discussed it,” said Krull. “There’s something to be said about football coaches wives. I wasn’t going to make that decision without talking to her. She gave me her blessing to do it.
“I have two little kids and I don’t know if they understand all there is. I asked them if they were ready for dad to get back into coaching, and they were pumped up about it. So this was a family decision.”
Krull said he was influenced by a number of former players who wanted to see him return.
“They wanted to see me get back into it if I was ready to,” Krull said. “It made me think that maybe it is time to get back into this.”
The best season of Krull’s first stint came in 2017 when the Mikes won the Tri-County South for the first time in 15 years and snapped the program’s 12-game playoff losing streak.
“That was a great team and we want to make that the norm,” said Krull, but he lauded his 2019 squad as having even more of an impact on the program.
The Mikes were in their second year in Class AA, coming off a 2-7 season, and went 4-5, finishing one game out of a playoff spot.
“Our 2019 team will never get the credit they deserve,” Krull said. “I really believe those guys saved Carmichaels football. For two years they took their lumps in that move up to double-A and that 2019 team really showed grit, a ton of heart, character. I think anybody that watched them saw they were tough as hell and were willing to go toe-to-toe with anybody, and said, OK, there is hope here.
“After I left we did move back down to Class A the following year but that second year in double-A we were not a pushover. Although we’re not going to celebrate a 4-5 year, I really think that those kids did a lot in lifting up the program. Not one kid quit that year and we were playing as the smallest team in the state in Class AA. We had our work cut out for us and those kids never waivered. They believed in everything that we were telling them and they stuck with it when it would’ve been so easy to turn and run. They did a great thing for our program.”
There won’t be a complete overhaul of the current program but Krull will make some changes.
“I think there will be some crossover with what they’ve done the last three years since I’ve been gone because Ron was an assistant when I was there,” Krull said. “Just based on my observations from a fan’s perspective there were some similarities. I know they didn’t do things exactly the way we did them but I’m sure that some of the things we’re going to emphasize are things that the kids have some kind of familiarity with.
“We try to run a first-class operation here for our kids and I’m going to do the same this go-round as well. We’ll do our best to leave no stone unturned to provide them every opportunity to be successful.”
One area Krull would like to see his team improve in is mobility.
“From a performance enhancement standpoint, we were really big on getting into the weight room and moving weight and I do see us still having an emphasis on that,” Krull said. “But we are going to be much more movement oriented with our offseason training. We are going to put more emphasis on our speed, our agility, just anything that allows our kids to move better.
“The goals are still the same as they were before and that’s to win every game that we play regardless of the opponent. Our goal is never going to be go into a game and just compete. We owe it to our kids to prepare every game to win that game. As long as I’m the coach here, that will be the case. When we start saying we just hope to be competitive it will be time for me to go again.”
Krull has mulled over his current roster and sees great potential for the coming season.
“With the guys we have coming back our roster is built to win right now,” Krull said. “I told the kids that ultimately it’s going to be their decision with how fast that they want to win. We’re talented enough, I think we’re deep enough. The sooner they buy in the quicker we’ll get this thing rolling and going in the right direction.
“The roster has all of the pieces that are needed to make a run at this thing.”
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