Palmer turns to Jeff Priestley to take over football program

January 8, 2014 Updated: January 8, 2014 at 8:48 pm
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Palmer's athletic department announced the hiring of Jeff Priestley on Wednesday to take over the school's football program.

In 2011, Priestley took over a struggling Fort Lupton team that won just one of 10 games. Two months ago, the same program broke even at 5-5 and made the school's first playoff berth in eight years.

"Jeff brings a wealth of knowledge and head coaching experience to the Terrors," Palmer athletic director Robert Framel said in a release. "His energy is contagious, and his positive attitude will be perfect as we enter a new cycle of games."

Priestley started his coaching career at Miami (Ariz.), where he stayed for two seasons before moving to Kofa High School in Yuma.

Three years later, Priestley moved to Colorado, starting an 11-year run at Greeley Central. During his time there, his team stopped a state-record 45-game winning streak by Longmont, then later fell to Wheat Ridge in the 1996 4A state championship game en route to a 12-2 season.

Priestley also coached at Valley and Thornton.

"He understands Colorado football and the 5A level," Framel said. "The team will benefit from his experience with a diverse population."

Palmer, which reached the 5A playoffs with a 7-4 record in 2010, has struggled since then, winning only four games. The program is slotted to play in the 4A Southern League for the upcoming two-year cycle, pending approval by the Colorado High School Activities Association at the next legislative council meeting later this month.

Priestley becomes the third Palmer coach since 2010. After Rod Baker left to take a similar job at Sand Creek, the school hired Doug Miolen in 2011, but he resigned after one season. Justin Rich coached the squad the past two seasons but announced his resignation shortly after the 2013 season.

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