Garden City Community College has its next head football coach.

At a press conference in the Hall of Fame room at Perryman Athletic Complex Wednesday, the Broncbusters announced Tom Minnick as the program’s 22nd head coach.

Minnick, 51, comes to Garden City after a highly successful 11-year run at Arizona Western Community College, posting an 89-34 record and taking the Matadors to three NJCAA championship games.

"I want to say thank you for this great opportunity," Minnick said Wednesday. "I’m very privileged to be here and Garden City Community College's head football coach.”

He replaces Jeff Sims, who went 32-12 in four years at GCCC and won a national championship over Minnick’s Arizona Western squad in 2016, before taking the head coaching job at Missouri Southern State University this week.

“Coach Minnick is a proven head coach and has done well everywhere he has been,” GCCC interim Athletic Director Colin Lamb said. “Tom Minnick has coached in three national championship games in 2011, 2016 and 2017. He has coached in 10 straight bowl appearances, won back-to-back-to-back conference titles, and was named the WSFL coach of the year six times. Coach Minnick is a great recruiter, works with student-athletes towards graduation and transfer, and is a winner.”

Minnick’s move to GCCC away from a program he helped compete for championships comes at a time when the Western States Football League is in upheaval, as four of the league’s teams have eliminated their football programs.

"I think the stability in the WSFL, where teams were dropping, that played a part into it," Minnick said.

With the Jayhawk Conference — and its scheduling partners in the Iowa schools — on firm ground, Lamb thought GCCC would be an attractive option and contacted Minnick to gauge his interest.

“We invited him down for an interview with our interview committee and concluded that he was the best coach…” Lamb said.

Minnick said he embraced the opportunity.

"I'm very happy they (reached out) to me," Minnick said. "That's how it's supposed to go."

GCCC also moved quickly, Lamb said, to find its next head coach to try to continue the success Sims was able to build at a program that had only had a few bright spots in a decade-plus.

“Getting a coach in as soon as possible was a top priority because it is necessary to retain our current players and get a head start on recruiting for next year,” Lamb said. “We also wanted to stay ahead of the game because there are other AD’s looking to hire head coaches throughout the country. We wanted to be in the right position in order to get the coach we wanted.

“Our goal was to get a proven head coach to continue our national prominence. We believe that Coach Minnick can do this and is the right fit for our program.”

The Busters are coming off a 10-1 season, during which they won the KJCCC for the second time in three seasons and finished as national runners-up. Minnick’s Matadors went 6-5 and lost the El Toro Bowl, 17-10, to Lackawanna, Penn.

Minnick also had a two-year head coaching stint at Joliet, Ill., Junior College — a now defunct football program — winning 10 games in 2007 and back-to-back Midwest Football Conference East Division titles.

“It’s hard to stay on top of the mountain," Minnick said of the challenge of switching from Arizona Western to GCCC, after Sims' recent success. "I’m not scared to come in and follow him. We’ve had our own success at Arizona Western. When we took over that, it was basically building a program from scratch. Here, it’s already built and the goal is to continue that success.”

But how to maintain that success will be different than how Sims may have run the program, Minnick said.

"I’m a little different," he said. "I’m a little bit more of a laid-back type of guy, but I’ll work my butt off to make sure we have a good football team and hire the right guys to be able to coach the kids and get them to the next level.”

Minnick was a long-time assistant at the College of DuPage and Joliet, and was a starting quarterback at DuPage, Ill., in 1986.

A graduate of the University of Missouri-Rolla, Minnick holds a bachelor’s degree in business.

Minnick and his wife, Tiffany, have two daughters, Payton and Morgan.

 

Assistants coming to GCCC

Minnick said on Wednesday that he has brought two assistants from Arizona Western with him to GCCC — offensive coordinator Michael Orthmann and offensive line coach Tony Mitchell, Jr.

Minnick also said he has a couple more coaches in mind to bring to GCCC, and will interview the current GCCC staff still remaining at the college this week.

Orthmann has been on Minnick's staff at Western since 2009, and Mitchell has been with Minnick at Western for the length of Minnick's tenure.

 

Contact J. Levi Burnfin at lburnfin@gctelegram.com.