Jamie Christensen still remembers the last football game he ever coached for the Rock Springs Tigers.
The Tigers were back-to-back state champions after going undefeated and winning the state titles in 2001 and 2002. Christensen and his team were staring down their third straight title, but Campbell County had other plans and beat Rock Springs 21-10 in the semifinals round of the 5A playoffs in 2003. It was an end of an era — a very historic one for Rock Springs football.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Christensen said.
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Although that day still feels fresh in his mind, the fact remains that it’s been 18 years since Christensen has stepped into Tiger Stadium as a coach. However, that 18-year void ended on Monday morning when the Tigers took to the field alongside their newest coach, and an old familiar legend, Jamie Christensen.
“We’re trying to bring back some tradition and where Rock Springs football has had some success and Jamie Christensen is a part of that. I’d be foolish to not try and bring him on board the staff,” RSHS Head Coach Mark Lenhardt said.
Lenhardt said that he and Christensen have had multiple talks about bringing him on the staff for quite some time. Christensen has wanted another opportunity to coach and when the job opened this season, he immediately applied. Lenhardt said he had attempted to bring on Christensen last season, but budget restraints didn’t allow for the opportunity to present itself.
“I’ve been watching coach Lenhardt here for years and an opportunity came up this summer. I applied and was fortunate enough to be hired for that position,” Christensen said.
Christensen will serve as a position coach, focusing his attention to the running backs, outside safeties and special teams.
Christensen added that the game has changed since he’s coached and a lot of the terminology is foreign to him.
“I’m ground zero, I’m starting all over I feel like. It will take me a little while,” he said.
Lenhardt said he’s most looking forward to the leadership skills Christensen will bring to the coaching staff and players.
He’s a great resource in terms of leadership and dealing with people. I’m really looking forward to utilizing him in that role early on to figure out the best way to lead these young men and lead our staff.RSHS Football Head Coach Mark Lenhardt
Christensen will join his son, Blaine Christensen, who is currently on the coaching staff. Football is a bond for the two, and was one of the main reasons behind Christensen’s return.
“I’m really excited about working with Blaine. That’s probably the most intriguing thing for me that drove me to apply for this position,” Christensen said.
In terms of unique coaching staff situations, Lenhardt said having a father-son duo is a first for him, which he added will bring added value to the team.
“I think this community ought to be proud of the program Coach Lenhardt is putting together,” Christensen said. “The commitment and time they’ve put into the program this summer is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”