Shane Larson had big dreams of becoming a head high school football coach. At just 26 years old and with three years of experience as an assistant, he was thrilled to achieve his goal sooner than he anticipated. But with confidence and determination, he believes he’s more than ready for the challenge.
“It came a lot sooner than I ever really planned,” Larson told The Billings Gazette and 406mtsports.com earlier this week, “but I’m definitely excited for the opportunity.” New Head Football Coach Announced for Lockwood High School.
The Lockwood school board recently gave the green light for Shane Larson to take on the role of head coach, making him the program’s second head coach. This change came after Rob DiGiallonardo, who previously held the position, stepped down to focus more on his duties as the high school’s assistant principal.
According to Lockwood High School’s Activities Director, Mike Erickson, the school officials felt that balancing the responsibilities of coaching and administration in a rapidly growing district was becoming too demanding for one person. This aligns with the general policy of many districts, including the Billings Public Schools, to not have administrators also serve as coaches. New Head Football Coach Announced for Lockwood High School.
Shane Larson served as an assistant coach for three seasons under the leadership of Rob DiGiallonardo. Coach DiGiallonardo was brought on board to start the Lockwood football program when the school first opened its doors to incoming freshmen in the 2019-20 school year.
“I think the last three seasons of being the (defensive coordinator) and being around Rob and helping with the decisions kind of helped me get ready for this position,” Larson said.
Shane Larson’s football journey began when he graduated from Conrad High School in 2015 and went on to play as a linebacker at Rocky Mountain College. Upon graduation, he took a job teaching 8th-grade math at Lockwood and joined Coach DiGiallonardo’s staff as an assistant coach the following year.
The Lockwood Lions football team, which had previously only played as a sub-varsity team for their first three seasons, made the move up to the varsity ranks last fall and ended the season with a record of 3-6 in the Southeast A division. They made history by securing their first varsity win against Sidney, with a score of 49-19, in week four.
According to Coach Larson, the past season was a turning point for the players in terms of physicality. The transition from playing mostly JV to varsity, especially against tough opponents such as Billings Central, Laurel, Miles City and the state champion Lewistown, was a significant challenge. But the team rose to the occasion and gained valuable experience.
“It was awesome to win three games, but honestly, we obviously want to win more than that. And I think it was kind of eye-opening to the guys of what it actually takes.”
The Lockwood Lions football team had several players who completed their journey in the program, starting as freshman at their first practice and graduating as seniors.
Next year’s juniors and seniors will play a vital role in setting and raising the program’s standards, according to Coach Larson.
As the new head coach, Larson is eagerly looking forward to the start of the season in August. The excitement of new beginnings never fades, regardless of age or experience.
“I’m just excited to get started,” Larson said. “I think we’ve got a good young coaching staff onboard that’s energetic and has played at a high level and knows the game. It’s going to be fun working with them and getting the guys ready this summer. Hopefully, we can do something this season. It’ll be a good challenge.”