Jan. 14—CHEYENNE — Dirk Dijkstal admits the prospect of succeeding Tim Denisson briefly gave him pause.
Denisson's Cheyenne Central boys soccer teams claimed seven state championships and played for eight more. He was the only coach the Indians had ever had.
"Being the guy that follows Tim would make anyone apprehensive about applying," Dijkstal said with a laugh. "I barely hesitated. I felt like I absolutely had to apply for this job, and I feel really lucky to have this opportunity."
Dijkstal—who played for Denisson, and then was an assistant for him the past seven seasons—was hired as Central's new boys soccer coach Friday. Dijkstal was a two-time all-state goalkeeper for the Indians, helping them win a state championship in 2006. His 32 shutouts stand as Central's school record.
He went on to play football and lacrosse at Carleton College in Minnesota.
"I've always had an affinity for the Central program, and a lot of that is because of Tim," Dijkstal said. "Even after I graduated, I came back a number of times and helped him with goalies or whatever else he needed. Central soccer has always been a big part of my life and always will be.
"He has done a really good job of creating a sense of community—not only with the current team, but the alumni network he's created. He taught me a lot about creating a program and sense of community and family."
Denisson preferred a possession-based approach to the game. Dijkstal said he'll adapt to the talent Central has at any given time, but he expects to use the same scheme.
"There are a lot of other programs in the state that run a very high-pressure type of system like a 4-4-3," he said. "That's typically not the style of play myself or any of our assistants like. We like a possession-minded style."
Dijkstal inherits a team that went 11-7-2 and finished sixth at the Class 4A state tournament last spring. The Indians have a plethora of experience returning to the pitch.
"We have a relatively young team, but we have a lot of experience returning," Dijkstal said. "Off the top of my head, only one of those returning starters is a senior. There is a lot of potential over the next couple of years."
Jeremiah Johnke is the WyoSports editor. He can be reached at email@example.com or 307-633-3137. Follow him on Twitter at @jjohnke.