STARTING POINT: New Nowata High grid coach brings hometown dedication, experience to job

·3 min read
Nowata High School has a first-year head football coach.
Nowata High School has a first-year head football coach.

Chance Juby is not your average first-year head football coach.

The new Nowata High School skipper already knows the kind of program the Ironmen can build.

Not only is he a Nowata High graduate, but he also served on the staff in 2014 when Nowata surged to a 14-1 record and came up just a touchdown shy of winning a state title.

“I kind of understand the community,” said Juby. “I understand the kids. I can let them know I care about them. That’s an advantage I have.”

Juby inherits a major challenge.

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Since 2017 — the first season after Juby had left — Nowata has experienced multiple winless campaigns and a shuffle of five different head coaches, six if one counts Juby.

During Juby’s tenure with Nowata from 2014-16, the experience had been much different.

As explained, Nowata competed like a crushing battering ram in 2014, with Matt Hagebusch as the head coach. The Ironmen marched to a 14-0 record before losing in the Class 2A state final. Davis edged the Ironmen, 20-13.

It had been a heartbreaking night for Nowata, which had been driving late in the fourth quarter for the tying touchdown but Davis picked off a pass to hold on.

In 2015, Hagebusch returned and Nowata returned to the playoffs — for the fourth-straight year.

Hagebusch departed in the offseason and Juby became an assistant for Cory James.

James navigated the 2016 Ironmen team to a 7-4 record, including another playoff appearance.

But, just prior to spring practice 2017, James left and Nowata’s program went into a tailspin, winning only one game during the next two seasons.

In 2019, Nowata underwent a brief revival season that ended in a playoff spot. But, in 2020 and 2021, Nowata stumbled to a 0-19 mark.

Meanwhile Juby had left after the 2016 season to coach elsewhere.

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He’ll be moving over from Pryor High at the end of the school year, but is already traveling after school to Nowata to start up the program.

As mentioned, coaching at Nowata is coming home for Juby.

“I have that connection with them (the students and community) already to help turn the program around,” Juby said. “I’m going to adapt to the personnel. Overall, the No. 1 thing is we want to be the most physical team in everything we do. We want to be fast and aggressive and win every single day.”

Juby said members of the community, including his sister, reached out to him when

Nowata began its hunt for a permanent coach for 2022.

He’s grateful for his tutelage the past five seasons elsewhere.

“I still had to learn and bounce around and adapt to other programs,” he said. “I wanted to make sure I was ready to give the kids everything I had. I wanted to have confidence in myself.”

Juby also looks to build on the lessons from the two head coaches he worked with at Nowata.

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“Coach Hagebusch was a big mentor for me, the way he treated everybody with the highest level of respect,” Juby said.”He wanted to make sure he treated all the kids and staff with respect. He told me there’s never a dumb question. He took me in as a first-year coach and taught me a whole bunch.”

Juby also remains friends with James.

“I learned a lot from him about being a first-year head coach,” Juby said. “He wanted me to handle more of the football responsibilities while he took care of some of the other duties.”

Next up for Juby is spring training next May — the launching pad for the 2022 season.

Armed with the tradition of Ironmen greatness and the homegrown dedication to the

Nowata ideal of athletic success, Juby is looking forward to the opportunity of making his alma mater regain its status as a small school power.

This article originally appeared on Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise: Chance Juby picked to coach Nowata football

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