WASILLA — Ken Ottinger has spent the last three seasons as the head coach of the Wasilla High School baseball program. Now, Ottinger will be leading a group of Warriors on both the diamond and the gridiron.
Ottinger has been named the head coach of the Wasilla High football team. The new head coach, who served as Wasilla’s linebackers coach in 2018, replaces former mentor Will Stout, who stepped down following the 2018 season due to family reasons.
“I’m very excited. I helped out last year and just kind of got attached to the kids,” Ottinger said.
Stout, who is moving with his family back to his home state of Texas, served as Wasilla’s head coach for three seasons. Ottinger said he hopes to continue what Stout was trying to build, and lead the program to the next level.
“Help trying to change the culture,” Ottinger said.
The Warriors are in search of their first winning season since 2015, but made improvements in 2018. Ottinger said he wanted to take the position to help keep the core of Stout’s coaching staff together with the goal of building on that improvement. Defensive coordinator Danny O’Neill, line coach Jay Larson and defensive assistant Gabe Bailey are among those returning to the staff.
Ottinger said he wants to pick up where Stout left off.
“One of the reasons why I did put in for (the job), the kids were really missing Stout,” Ottinger said. “I wanted to keep the foundation.”
Ottinger said he learned a lot from Stout, and will incorporate those things into the future of Warriors football. But he will also add his own flavor to the program.
Ottinger said he has also hired former Colony High offensive coordinator and Knights football standout Matt Jaronik to be his offensive coordinator.
“I’m very excited to have him on board. He has a bright mind and finishes off what I’ve been trying to put together as far as a staff,” Ottinger said.
Ottinger will also continue as Wasilla High’s head baseball coach, and is also the head coach of the Wasilla Road Warriors American Legion baseball program. Prior to accepting the position, he said he met with his family about adding a third program to his list of duties. Ottinger, who also owns and operates Ottworks Custom Paint, said he has full support. That support also includes building the right coaching staff. He said he will bring that same philosophy from baseball to football.
“My goal is to surround myself with great coaches,” Ottinger said.
Ottinger grew up on the diamond and the gridiron. Baseball gave Ottinger, an Oregon native, the chance to play at the collegiate level. That opened up a career in the dugout for Ottinger, who has more than 20 years of experience as a head baseball coach.
Wasilla High activities director Stacia Rustad said Ottinger’s success in baseball was a big draw as the administration chose the new head coach.
“He’s a great role model with a great program,” Rustad said. “We just felt he is a fit for our football program, with his ability to relate to them as high school athletes and motivate them to be even better people on and off the field.”
Contact Frontiersman managing editor Jeremiah Bartz at email@example.com.