ST. GEORGE – In a roundabout way, Snow Canyon is responsible for Dixie High losing its head basketball coach.
Ryan Cuff announced this week that he will take the job as head basketball coach at American Fork High School, a position that came available when Cavemen coach Doug Meacham accepted the same position at Snow Canyon High School last week.
The coaching shuffle means Region 9’s list of coaches has completely changed in just a few short years. Dixie and Snow Canyon will have first-year coaches, Cedar (Russ Beck) and Pine View (Ryan Eves) have coaches with two years under their belts, Hurricane’s Todd Langston has coached five years and Desert Hills’ Wade Turley just finished his sixth season. Canyon View’s Rob Potter becomes the longest-tenured coach in the region, having steered the Falcons for seven years.
For Cuff, who led the Flyers for 10 years, the decision was not an easy one.
“What an incredible 10 years that we have had at Dixie High School,” Cuff said. “My family and I want to thank this community for making our time here so enjoyable. We have built relationships that will last forever and those friendships have made us better people. We will miss the Region 9 family, but we will continue to follow the success of all sports.”
Cuff took the reins at Dixie for the 2008-09 season and led the Flyers to a 13-9 record that first year. For the next five seasons, Dixie competed at about a .500 clip as Cuff worked to strengthen the youth programs in St. George and develop young talent. The efforts began to pay off big time in the 2014-15 season. The Flyers went 20-6 that year, at one point winning 10 straight games, before falling in the state quarterfinals.
The next year (2015-16), Cuff led the Flyers to their first Region 9 basketball crown in 10 years by going 9-1 in region and 23-4 overall. Led by Tyler Bennett and Richard Guymon, the finishing touch on the season was a 65-57 victory over Juan Diego in the state championship game on Feb. 27, 2016.
Dixie went 45-7 over the next two years, including another region championship this past season. The Flyers had a perfect 12-0 record in the region, but were eliminated in the state quarterfinals by eventual champion Salem Hills.
All-totaled, Cuff led Dixie to a 151-87 record over his 10 years at the helm (.634 winning percentage) and a 64-43 record in Region 9 (.598).
Dixie High athletic director Mike Bair said Cuff leaves some very big shoes to fill.
“Coach Cuff has built a strong program and is well respected throughout the state when it comes to basketball,” he said. “He has coached many young men while at the helm of Dixie High, including my son, and has taught my daughters in his classes. The one big thing that Dixie will be losing is a great coach, but more importantly, one who teaches life skills off the court. Coach Cuff and his coaching staff needs to be complimented in that very important area. Yes, winning basketball games is important. But more important than winning is how to handle what life throws at you.”
Bair said the search for a new head coach has already begun and is a priority at Dixie High. The school also recently lost its head football coach when Andy Stokes accepted the head coaching position at Timpview High School. Dixie rehired former head coach Blaine Monkres to lead the football program.
Cuff said he treasured his time in Southern Utah.
“Thank you Dixie High School for giving me an opportunity to coach and teach at Dixie,” he said. “I have learned so many valuable lessons from those I have taught on and off the court. My family is better because of the experiences that we have had together at Dixie.
“Thank you to the administration, faculty, coaching staff, parents, and most importantly, the students for your positive examples and for making Dixie such a wonderful place to be. We will always bleed blue.”
Cuff, who coached at American Fork rival Lone Peak earlier in his career, also takes Dixie’s top returning player in the move in his son Tanner, who averaged 15 points, five rebounds and three assists last season, tops on the team in all three categories.
Dixie basketball under coach Ryan Cuff
Overall: 151-87, 64-43
2008-09 – 13-9, 6-4
2009-10 – 8-12, 5-7
2010-11 – 9-13, 5-7
2011-12 – 13-12, 7-5
2012-13 – 9-14, 6-6
2013-14 – 11-10, 4-8
2014-15 – 20-6, 9-3
2015-16 – 23-4, 9-1xz
2016-17 – 24-3, 8-2
2017-18 – 21-4, 12-0x
x- Region 9 champs
z – 3A state champs
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