Andy Messersmith wrestled in college, earning All-American honors at Adams State in 2002-03. He’s been a head wrestling coach and enjoyed success at North Sanpete and Juab. He’s also been an assistant football coach.
But he’s always wanted to be a head football coach.
He’ll get his shot this coming football season. Messersmith was announced as the new head coach for Enterprise High School earlier this year, replacing Malin Williams, who left by what was described as a “mutual” decision.
In Williams’ four years as head coach of the Wolves, their record was 20-21 with three playoff appearances. The Wolves went 5-6 last year. As far as winning games, Messersmith has a couple reasons why he thinks Enterprise can win.
“I believe that (the players) just need to believe in themselves and focus on the basics and the fundamentals,” he said. “Winning takes care of itself when everything’s done right.”
Messersmith said, for whatever reason, there were some kids who quit the team or otherwise didn’t play. One of his immediate goals is to get kids out to play and have fun. He also hopes his staff of assistant coaches, who are quite young, will help with relating to the players.
“That’s what I want, is to make it a good experience for the kids,” he said.
Messersmith, not the same Andy Messersmith who pitched 12 stellar seasons in the major leagues, played football and wrestled at Juab High. He attended Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) and then Adams State in Colorado.
His father, Paul, was a legendary football coach in the 1980s at Richfield, where he won the 2A state title in 1984 and amassed a career record of 50-17 with the Wildcats. He also coached at Juab, where he went 48-26 in seven seasons at the helm.
Messersmith has spent the past five years as the defensive coordinator at Uintah High (Class 4A) in Vernal. In that time, the Utes went 11-38 overall and allowed an average of 33.9 points per game.
It’s two months before Enterprise’s season opener against Diamond Ranch and a lot can, and most likely will, change until then. Messersmith said he expects the team’s strengths to be at the running back, the wide receiver and slot receiver spots.
A quarterback battle also looms, but that will be addressed closer to the season’s start. The Wolves have to find a starting quarterback to replace prolific dual-threat QB Brandell Shumway, who graduated.
Messersmith said the biggest concerns at the moment are on the offensive and defensive line, which become magnified in the run-heavy Class 2A. That’s one of the biggest differences in Class 2A compared to 4A.
“Teams in 2A, they’re dedicated to running the ball. If you can’t stop the run, you’re not going to have success,” he said.
Consider Enterprise an even fresher start for Messersmith, who has been involved in controversy in the past.
In January 2010, while teaching at Juab High, Messersmith was involved in a verbal argument and later a physical altercation with a student, according to a report by The Times-News of Nephi.
Throughout the process, many in the Nephi community showed support for Messersmith, including a large crowd at a Juab School District meeting approximately a week after the incident. He was placed on administrative leave after the incident, and later resigned.
More than a year later in May 2011, he was hired at Uintah High in Vernal, a move that attracted some controversy according to the Vernal Express. Details of the 2010 incident were laid bare in the Express, which cited a Nephi City Police report.
According to the report, Messersmith engaged in a verbal altercation with a student in a physical education class. Later, according to the report, Messersmith threw a roll of tape at the student and put the student in a headlock.
He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, a Class C misdemeanor, which wasn’t grounds for removal of his teaching license. He completed anger management and was ordered to complete community service and pay a $300 fine, according to the Express, which cited court records.
Messersmith acknowledged he was in the wrong.
“I made mistakes. I shouldn’t have said some of the stuff I said,” he said. “That was just me being dumb and young.”
Enterprise Principal Rick Palmer gave Messersmith a full vote of confidence. He said he spoke with the current principal and assistant principal at Juab High, the athletic director, football head coach and wrestling head coach at Uintah and a number of community members in Nephi.
“All of them had nothing but praise. They had no issues,” Palmer said.
In speaking with Juab and Uintah administrators and coaches, Palmer said the consensus was that the 2010 incident was a one-time occurrence.
Messersmith was interviewed by a committee that included three parents, who were all in favor of hiring him, according to Palmer.
Calvin Holt, the assistant principal and athletic director at Enterprise, said the school had thoroughly investigated Messersmith’s background and were confident in the hiring. Holt added the school has had nothing but positive support from the local community.
Follow Patrick Carr on Twitter @patrickcarr_, on Facebook at facebook.com/patrickjosephcarr1/ or call him at (435) 231-3834. Keep up with The Spectrum’s prep sports coverage using #region9preps