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Hutchinson hires Ryan Cornelsen as new football coach

Published Jan. 7 at 8:25 a.m. | Last updated Jan. 7 at 8:26 a.m.

Hutchinson High has found its next football coach. Hays’ Ryan Cornelsen confirmed Tuesday morning he’d accepted the position after five seasons as the coach at Hays High.

"It was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make," Cornelsen said. "I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished at Hays and next year we’re going to have a really good team. One of my career goals is to coach at the highest level and the success at Hutchinson was enough that, for me, it felt like the right decision."

Cornelsen takes over for Randy Dreiling, who left last month to become the coach at St. Thomas Aquinas. Dreiling won seven state titles in 17 seasons.

Cornelsen interviewed last week in Hutchinson with athletic director Eric Armstrong and accepted the job on Sunday night. He told his players at Hays on Tuesday morning.

"I think the first thing that sticks out is his work ethic," Armstrong said. "He’s got the unique ability to look at all angles of a situation and then improve on it. And he’s been a winner everywhere that he’s been."

Cornelsen was 35-12 in his tenure at Hays and went 53-13 as the coach at La Crosse in six seasons previous to that. He said he spoke with Dreiling when Hutchinson approached him about the job initially.

"(Dreiling) had nothing but good things to say about the community and everything surrounding the program," Cornelsen said. "I’m not really worried about whether a program was successful or unsuccessful before I came in. It’s not like I’m going to go in there and try to reinvent the wheel, but I am going to be adding my own touches."

Reach Tony Adame at 316-268-6284 or tadame@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @t_adame.