Dayton High track coach Mike Paul steps down |

Dayton High track coach Mike Paul steps down

Darrell Moody

Mike Paul, one of the most respected track coaches in Northern Nevada, has stepped down from his post at Dayton High School.

Paul has been with the Dayton program since 1994, and he guided the Dust Devils’ boys team to state championships in 2006, 2007 and 2014. Dayton had 23 state champions during Paul’s tenure.

Paul said co-head coach David Palmer is remaining with the program, but jumps coach Rob Turner is leaving Dayton for Virginia City, leaving Dayton with two big holes on its staff. Paul also said Kevin Ply, who coaches vaulters, is expected to return as an assistant coach.

The grind of weekday practices and weekend invitationals for more than 20 years finally took its toll on Paul, who’s nearing the end of his teaching career, too.

“My wife wants to see me on the weekends during the spring,” Paul said. “A lot went through my mind (making the decision). I don’t feel the drive that I used to have. I don’t want to get out there (every day) any more.”

Cory Sanford, Dayton athletic director, said Paul will be missed.

“Mike Paul has been a pillar of the DHS track program for a long time,” Sanford said. “He built Dust Devil track to the point where student participation was at an all-time high with over 70-80 athletes participating. He also built a program that was strong enough to win boys team state championships as well as countless individual athlete titles throughout his tenure.

“I know from personal experience that he is one of the most-respected coaches in our league and in any league. I remember coaching against him when I was the head track coach at Yerington High School, and his teams were always strong and had huge numbers. He always pushed and coached his kids to perform at their highest level. His impact on hundreds of kids that went through his program is immeasurable.”

Like his former Carson neighbor, outgoing CHS coach Robert Maw, Paul would be open to coaching throwers during the week if needed.

“I wouldn’t mind working with the throwers a little bit,” said Paul, who has coached champions Zach Hawley and Josh Koch to state championships in the shot put and discus. “I’ve been fortunate to have some real good athletes to work with here.”

Besides Koch and Hawley, Paul coached Kathy Arias, who won six state titles (shot and discus) during her Dayton career. Arias went to Cornell for a year, but eventually came back to the area.