New offensive coordinator for 2022-2023 football season

Dixie State University had a tough first full season in Division I football. With the sudden opening of the offensive coordinator position, the program saw an opportunity to make a change.

This change is coming in the form of a new offensive coordinator, Craig Stutzmann. 

Stutzmann played four years of collegiate football at the University of Hawaii. After a brief stint in the Canadian Football League, Stutzmann got his first coaching position in 2003 and has been a coach ever since. 

After Stutzmann’s disheartening single season in the CFL, he was ready to move on from the game of football, even after being approached by his agent with an offer to play in the Arena Football League. The CFL just wasn’t what he expected it to be, causing him to lose interest in the game entirely.

“It left such a bad taste in my mouth,” Stutzmann said. “You know what, I’m done playing football, I’m going to get into something else.”

Stutzmann returned home to Hawaii in search of a new career. After bouncing around for a year or two, he was approached by a former teammate, and the current defensive line coach at the University of Oregon, Tony Tuioti. Tuioti had gotten a head coaching job at Kalaheo High School, and wanted Stutzmann to come help out. 

“I told him I didn’t want to, but I ended up going to a practice and helping them out just to get stuff started for them,” Stutzmann said. He fell in love with coaching and has been doing it ever since.

Washington State and Hawaii, Stutzmann’s most recent coaching jobs, have been two of the most prolific passing offenses of the last decade in college football. As the quarterback coach at these schools, he played an integral part in their success. He is excited to implement his offense, coining the “spread and shred.” Inspired by the “run and shoot” offense, this new offense was brought to life while Stutzmann was coaching at Emory and Henry, a small Division III college in Virginia.

“I think there are some things that the run and shoot lacks that this spread and shred type offense can bring to the table,” Stutzmann said

Stuzmann’s tenure at Washington State University ended due to a firing over vaccination complications. Stutzmann, along with four other members of the WSU football program, were fired for not complying with the mandate that required all employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine. He is ready to move on from this controversy by getting back to what it’s all about, football. 

“What happened at Washington State was unfortunate,” Stutzmann said. “I am very blessed to have the opportunity to have another job from coach Paul Peterson, and to get back to what it’s always been about, being around and coaching and mentoring young men.” 

Stutzmann has always been intrigued by coaching at DSU. With family close in Las Vegas and the great weather, DSU made sense. 

When asked what his goals for next season were, Stutzmann had a simple answer.  

“Win more football games, winning football games is the most important thing on the field,” Stutzmann said. “Whatever our offense can do to contribute to the overall success of our team we’re going to do.” 

For head coach Paul Peterson, the decision to hire Stutzmann was one that came from respect for his work. 

“He’s got a tremendous amount of experience at all the levels that he’s coached,” Peterson said. “I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for the work he has done, and his quarterbacks have always produced.” 

Quarterback Kobe Tracy, a redshirt freshman mechanical engineering major from Chubbuck, Idaho, said he is excited to see what changes Stutzmann will make for the team. 

“First of all, Coach Stutzmann seems like a great guy, I have heard a lot about the offense he is bringing in before he got here and sounds very exciting to be a part of from a quarterback’s perspective,” Tracy said. 

DSU men’s basketball optimistic for the future

Dixie State University’s men’s basketball team continues to improve this season with a record of 11-10.

The DSU men’s basketball team defeated both University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Chicago State on Jan. 22 and Jan. 29. These two wins brought the team’s record to 11-10. So far, the team has had more wins this season than the previous season. The 2020-2021 record was 8-13.

Head coach Jon Judkins said, “There’s some games that we lost that we could have or should have won but you’re going to have those, but on the other hand, we have had some games that we should have lost that we won. So far we have won more games this season than we did last year, so that to me is an improvement.” 

On Jan. 12, the DSU men’s basketball team played California Baptist. The team was down eight points with 1:33 left and were able to close the deficit.

Brock Gilbert, a junior business management major from Syracuse, said team has many talented players and are all capable of putting up points any night. Gilbert also said the team is unselfish and has the ability to control the game when they play good defense. 

In the UTRGV game, four Trailblazers scored in double digits. The team was up 50-33 at half time, and concluded the game with a score of 85-74.

Cameron Gooden, a junior recreation and sports management major from Frisco, Texas, said, “Everybody just looks out for one another, and we hold each other accountable.”

Gooden also said he can tell everybody is in way better sync than last season as well.

Judkins said, “It’s been fun coaching [the team], they are very coachable and they try hard. As a coach, all I can really ask is for them to pay attention and give me everything they have, and these guys have done that.”

The next three games DSU men’s basketball team plays are against Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin and New Mexico State. Gooden said these games are all very winnable.

“We have to come out there and execute the game plan, buy in, and the rest of the season is looking real good,” said Gooden.

Judkins said the team pushes the ball up the court, plays lockdown defense and shares the ball.

“It’s exciting to see that we are getting better, and I think we still have a ways to go, but I see improvement and I’m excited for that,” said Judkins.

DSU men’s basketball continues its season at Sam Houston on Feb. 3.

DSU women’s track and field team breaking records

Dixie State University athletes are breaking individual records and setting record highs.

The DSU women’s track and field team completed its second indoor meet of the 2021-2022 season after a meet at Brigham Young University where no records were broken. Although, a week later, multiple records were broken at Northern Arizona University Lumberjack Team Challenge in Arizona on Jan. 21.

Breaking the first record of the meet, Rylee Jacobsen, a freshman nursing major from Malad, Idaho, set the indoor mile school record time at 5:35.83.

Jacobsen said, “It’s exciting; I never expected to be running this fast right now.”

Jacobsen said she was surprised when she found out she had set a record because it is not her best time. She is already showing improvement and is ready to beat the record the next chance she gets.

Jacobsen said her personal goal for the end of the season is to set a mile record for herself at 5:20.00.

Breaking the second record of the meet, Addi Wyatt, a freshman pre-medical radiography major from Middleton, Idaho, set the school record for the 400 meter dash at 1:02.13 at her first meet. Wyatt knew the record already set and she made it her goal to beat it.

“I felt good after I beat the time, but I know I can get better time; it is not the time I want to be at outdoors, but indoors I am happy with it,” Wyatt said.

Wyatt’s personal goal for the end of the season is to get her 800-meter dash down and become a part of the 4×4 team.

The third record broken at the meet was done by Sadie Edwards, a freshman general studies major from Provo, who also set a record for the 400-meter dash at 1:02.24.

Edwards said, “this experience was exciting because the track and elevation made it so much harder to run, so to still be able to beat my record is thrilling.”

Edwards’ end goal is to get her own personal record in the 400-meter dash and get a 0:57.00.

Head coach Derrick Atkins said the team is continuing to improve, as this is only their second meet. It is a process to get the athletes to their own individual goals. The team has to continue to work and build to improve and there isn’t a stopping point.

“Every athlete can improve in one way or another,” Atkins said.

Keeping high expectations, Atkins said the goal for his athletes this season is for every player to get their own personal record.

The athletes will continue to practice daily and individually work on their own goals to keep improving in their future meets.

COVID-19 impact on the women’s basketball team

After the chaos COVID-19 wreaked on the Dixie State University women’s basketball team in the 2020-2021 season, the Trailblazers are moving forward with renewed energy.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team only had the opportunity to play a few games, then the season was officially cancelled.

JD Gustin, head coach of DSU women’s basketball team, said the team is recovering after the struggle of the previous season. The team has been able to start fresh.

Gustin said not being able to have a season last year made the team appreciate the opportunity they have this season and how special it is to play college basketball.

Since COVID-19 has not taken a toll on DSU women’s basketball team this season, players are able to continue to better themselves and their overall game play.

Sophomore forward Emily Isaacson, a general studies major from Perry, said, “I love the challenge of being the best I can be and continually bettering myself, and finding things to work on and improve.”

To keep COVID-19 from affecting the season negatively, the team is taking all precautions and is following specific guidelines given by the NCAA Division 1 organization.

Main guidelines

For unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, close contact with COVID-19 requires, “Quarantine at home for five days. After that, continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others for five additional days.”

For fully vaccinated, close contact with COVID-19 requires, “No quarantine. Wear a well-fitting mask socially when not actively training/competing for 10 days. Test on day five, if possible, and test symptomatic individuals.”

For all, a positive COVID-19 test requires, “Isolate for five days. If no symptoms or symptoms are resolving after five days, isolation may end. Continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others for five additional days. If there is a fever, continue to isolate until fever resolves.”

Guard Shanaijah Davison, a senior communication studies major from Woodland, California, said the virus has affected her basketball season in a positive way.

Davison said unlike many others, COVID-19 has had a great impact on her college basketball experience, which influenced her to leave the previous university she attended, Long Beach State University.

When COVID-19 hit, Davison had the time to go home and reflect on how she wanted her college basketball career to continue. DSU provided the game play that fit her style of play best, and as a result she decided to play her last season at DSU.

As a Trailblazer, Davison was eligible to play her first game this season on Jan. 13 against Seattle University. The team won the game against Seattle, and Davison was player of the game with 20 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals.

As the Trailblazers have led a COVID-19 free season so far, they will attempt to finish the remainder of the 2021-2022 season strong.

Jason Boothe steps down as DSU athletic director

Another era in the DSU sporting world has come and gone.

After 12 years of serving as Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Jason Boothe has stepped down in pursuit of other opportunities.

In his press release, Boothe said his family has really enjoyed their time in St. George, but looks forward to other opportunities that lie ahead.

Under Boothe’s stewardship, DSU Athletics flourished, winning a total of 24 regular and postseason conference championships as members of the Rocky Mountain Athletic and Pacific West conferences, and had a total 57 postseason NCAA Division II appearances. In January 2019, Boothe played a crucial role in DSU’s move to NCAA Division I Athletics and competing in the Western Athletic Conference.

According to the press release, he brought about tremendous growth opportunities in fundraising, facility growth and raised the department’s budget from $3.9 million to $11.5 million. He helped broker the deal for the naming rights and video boards for Greater Zion Stadium and oversaw the completion of the $4 million of the Sports Medicine Center which is dedicated to taking care of the 400 student athletes on campus. His impact was also seen off the court and field with the GPA of student-athletes rising from 2.91 in 2010 to 3.29 in 2021 and more than 1,000 student-athletes receiving academic all-conference honors. Boothe pushed the Athletics Department to serve their community with students, faculty and staff completing more than 13,000 hours of community service under his direction.

In Boothe’s press release, DSU President Richard “Biff” Williams said: “I am grateful for the dedication of Dr. Boothe and his family to Trailblazer Athletics. The department has seen a tremendous transformation during his tenure, and he will be appreciated for decades to come.”

I am grateful for the dedication of Dr. Boothe and his family to Trailblazer Athletics. The department has seen a tremendous transformation during his tenure, and he will be appreciated for decades to come.

President Richard “Biff” Williams

What does the future look like for DSU Athletics? Steve Johnson, associate athletics director for media relations said: “The future looks bright for Trailblazer Athletics. We are currently in year two of our NCAA Division I transition and all 15 of our intercollegiate athletic programs are competing in the Western Athletic Conference. We will continue our hard work and progression toward becoming a full D1 member ahead of the 2024-25 season.”

In the meantime, the school is still searching for Boothe’s replacement. Johnson said: “A national search for the university’s next director of intercollegiate athletics has already begun, with the hope that the new director will be in place on July 1, 2022.”

For now, Ken Beazer has been appointed as the Interim Athletics Director until Boothe’s replacement is found. According to Beazer’s press release, he will make the transition after serving as the Executive Director of Development in the DSU Advancement Office since 2015. Beazer said he believes Boothe laid out a great foundation for him to build off of and looks forward to the exciting work that lies ahead of the 2022-2023 DSU athletics season.