The Palmer Ridge football team has announced its successor following the resignation of longtime coach Tom Pulford last month.
The school announced Thursday that Michael Armentrout will take over as head coach. Armentrout has been a physical education teacher at Palmer Ridge for two years and has held multiple coaching positions within the athletic department.
He takes over for Pulford, who guided the Bears to three state championships and a second-place finish in the last four years, and a 62-39 record in his nine-year tenure. Pulford stepped away last month to prioritize his family and health, but said he would remain involved in the program.
Armentrout, who was a junior varsity coach last year, said most of the football staff will return, with offensive coordinator, Darren Grob, and defensive coordinator Zach Carlton, remaining in their respective positions, along with other position coaches.
“I have a really good relationship with the coordinators we have in place so there’s not going to be wholesale changes, but there are some things I want to do in the community like outreach and community development, team bonding,” Armentrout said, adding that getting his team out into the community will be a big priority next year.
Armentrout has more than a decade of coaching experience, and has kept himself busy during the pandemic coaching five different teams for Palmer Ridge in the last year. The Loveland native has helped coach the football team, boys golf, boys basketball, is currently helping with the girls volleyball team, and will take on the role of girls golf coach this spring.
“He’s kind of that jack of all trades. He’s a great person, great leader and great with kids,” said Palmer Ridge athletic director Lance McCorkle. “He’s the kind of person that stops and says, hey, what do you need? People that are selfless like that, they look at the big picture of what is good for the school is good for the team and vice versa.”
Armentrout coached at Cheyenne Mountain before finding a job at Palmer Ridge where he immediately jumped in to help coach the track team.
“I think with coaching a lot of people have this perception that it’s all about the Xs and Os, and that is important, but what I found is the relationship with kids and coaches and the community is the most important part of coaching,” Armentrout said. “Coaching a variety of different personalities and goals and abilities has been a great thing for my development.”
A variety is right. McCorkle said when looking for a permanent PE teacher, Armentrout stood out because of his experience teaching dance as a substitute.
When it comes to the football position, however, McCorkle said the committee felt Armentrout was the right guy to continue building on the culture at Palmer Ridge.
“I want a person who is going to mimic the overall vision of the school and the athletic department and things like that,” McCorkle said. “The committee was looking for somebody that was going to continue on where we are at and just really take the reins and keep doing what we are doing on the field.”
Armentrout said he was born to be a coach, and described his coaching style as positive, motivational and relational. He said building relationships with athletes is why he got into coaching.
“God made people different and made them different for a reason,” Armentrout said. “It takes a lot of different personalities and a lot of different strengths to work together and achieve. There’s no cookie cutter answer on how to build a relationship with a kid, but the biggest lesson I’ve learned is how to look at a kid and gain that perspective on where they came from and why they feel what they feel.”