Before Tuesday, Dominick Dingle had never interviewed for a head football coaching position.
But that changed when he traveled to Wichita as a candidate for the Wichita Heights position at one of the state’s storied programs.
Dingle, who has been on the football staff at Garden City High School for the past 10 years, will be in a much different place come next fall.
On Friday, Dingle realized his dream when he was named the new Falcons coach by former Heights coach and now athletic director Rick Wheeler.
“There really hasn’t been anything that I felt I was having to have as far as coaching goes,” Dingle said Friday. “But it’s been a goal of mine for a long time. I’ve been a loyal coach and I’ve gotten so much from the community in Garden City. It will be really difficult to say goodbye to the Buffaloes.”
Dingle, a 2002 graduate of Leavenworth High School, played defensive back in 2002 and 2003 for Garden City Community College under head coach Bob Larson and position coach Tim Schaffner, now head coach at Butler Community College. Upon his graduation from GCCC, Dingle transferred to Appalachian State in North Carolina, where he starred for a pair of NCAA 1-AA FCS championship teams.
"He came with a lot of recommendations from people I know and trust, coaches I've known for many years, part of my network," Wheeler said.
Dingle said he chose to apply for the Heights position because of the program’s reputation and for the ability to work for somebody like Wheeler, who guided Heights to a couple of state championships.
“They’ve got a great administration, they’ve got good assistant coaches and they sold their vision to me,” Dingle said of his Tuesday trip to Wichita for the interview. “Rick Wheeler is a terrific coach and person, so I’m looking forward to working for him.”
Dingle, 33, said that while growing up as an Army brat, Garden City had come to feel like home, having been with the Buffaloes longer than any other position.
“The people were very welcoming, and they were awesome throughout the entire process,” Dingle said. “It just felt like home.”
Dingle has primarily served on the defensive side of the ball for head coach Brian Hill, specializing in the secondary.
“Coach Hill has been terrific to me,” Dingle said. “He’s given me a lot of responsibility for the defense so I feel blessed to have that experience.”
Dingle also played for Hill when Hill was on the staff at GCCC.
“That was one of the toughest calls and talks I’ve had,” Dingle said of his visit with his now former boss. “I made calls to a couple of other people who have been influential in my life and in my career.”
His departure comes with a sense of pride for Hill
“Dom has been a tremendous asset to our program, to the school and to the community,” Hill said. “He’s a terrific coach and he’s just a great fit for Heights. I’m so happy for him. He was, and is, ready for this move.”
Dingle currently is an assistant track coach, working with GCHS sprinters. He also is a physical education teacher and the strength and conditioning coordinator for grades 7 through 12 in USD 457.
Dingle has a bachelor of science degree from Appalachian State, and a master of science degree from Pittsburg State.
Dingle and his wife, Jessica, have four children, son Dominick Jr., 13; twin sons Donte and Donovan, 8, and daughter Jessiah, 10.