By BRETT MARSHALL
If one wants to have a secret kept, Brian Hill would be a good choice for that task.
The Garden City High School football coach, who has guided the Buffaloes to two consecutive Class 6A state playoff appearances in his first two seasons, was officially announced on Wednesday as the 2012 Kansas Shrine Bowl West team head coach.
"It's quite an honor and after seeing last year what the game is all about, I'm more than happy to give back my time to such a great cause," said Hill, who served as defensive coordinator for the West team in 2011.
Hill actually has known since last August that he would be the head coach, but the Shrine officials didn't make the official announcement until it had the rosters selected for the 2012 game.
The Buffs' head coach will have Gabe Luna from his own GCHS squad on the roster along with Colborn Couchman of Scott City, Josh Jarnagin of Ulysses and Colton Lissolo of Hugoton. All four of those players were selected to The Telegram's 2011 All-Area Top 11 squad. Couchman, a running back/linebacker/defensive end, was named The Telegram's Player of the Year.
"They're a talented group and there's just a great deal of talent throughout the group of kids chosen," Hill said of the 34 players chosen for the July 28 game to be played at Emporia State University's Welch Stadium.
Hill said that the selection process for naming the head coach is done by the previous year's coaching staff, who vote after the current year's game is concluded. "Most everybody knows that the next head coach will come from that group of assistants, but I don't think anybody really campaigns for it," Hill said. "We all got one vote, so it's really a neat honor to know that you were chosen by your peers. They're all a great group of coaches and great guys and any one of them would have been a super selection."
Hill said being tabbed as the head coach was among the highlights of his career.
"It's definitely there at the top of the list," Hill said. "It's on state-wide TV and it's such a great event. I think the thing that really happens when you get involved is that from the outside looking in, you don't see everything that goes into the game and what the game's main focus is. Raising money for the kids is clearly what you see as the reason for the game."
Hill said he was thrilled to be able to serve as the head coach and have one of his own players make the roster.
The West team will practice for 10 days in Salina before departing for Emporia and the 2012 7 p.m. contest. The West, won the 2011 game, 30-7, at Pittsburg State University.
See rosters in Scoreboard, Page B2.