Saying he knew as a kid he wanted to be a football coach, Worland native, and alum Patrick Sweeney was announced as the new leader of the Warriors program on Tuesday.

Sweeney said the influence of those he played for led him down this path.

“(I had) a lot of very special coaches around me growing up. It was always something to achieve. I wanted to emulate those special people influencing my life, positively.”

He learned that forcing or searching to be a coach wasn’t the best way. Sweeney looks at it as growing wherever you’re at and tried to succeed in the role he had.

“I wanted to have any type of head coaching position approach me rather than me approach it. The position came open this year. I applied for it and was fortunate enough to be chosen to do it. That was incredibly humbling.”

After the Washakie County School District No. 1 School Board approved his hiring, Sweeney said it’s been overwhelming these last few days.

“It’s been special. It’s been exciting, incredibly humbling, like I said, and it’s rare that you seek a position back where you’re roots are. You get into a position that you’ve always wanted to do, wasn’t expecting it, but being back home, being on the field and at the school, I grew up in, with my parents being part of the school district, it is a special thing.”

Sweeney was born and raised in Worland. He played football for the Warriors from 2005-06 through 2008-09. Sweeney went on to Dickinson State University in North Dakota, where he was on the football team from 2009-2013. From there, Sweeney went to Northern State in South Dakota, where he was a graduate assistant for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

Due to a family matter, Sweeney returned to Worland in the middle of the 2017 college football season but kept working for the Wolves’ football program.

He spent the 2018 season in a volunteer role due to his full-time work schedule. Sweeney told WyoPreps he was the ‘film guy,’ who broke down tape each week. After a shift in his job, Sweeney was on the Worland staff as a full-time assistant coach in 2019. He primarily worked with the Warriors linebackers.

Sweeney sees an amazing culture around Worland high school, particularly looking at other programs.

“We’ve got a great group of kids that love to compete and that’s exciting.”

He added this is a role I take very seriously.

“Just the opportunity to lead and grow young men in itself, it’s just outstanding. Just leading and growing those young men to be the best they can be, using our culture to do that, building genuine, deep relationships that will last not four years, but forty years, and just understanding the game of football. Learning the ins and outs of a wonderful game that we’re so privileged to play.”

Sweeney knows that with present circumstances, that’s not something you can take for granted.

The Warriors were 3-6 last season and lost in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs. Worland has reached the postseason in each of the last three seasons.

Sweeney feels the classification is loaded with talented coaches and players.

“Our league (3A) is in great shape right now. Everyone’s got an opportunity to be successful.”

He also sees where the power is.

“The West (Conference) is clearly dominant, and the 3A East is as good as I’ve seen it in a long time. I don’t know where Worland fits it. We’re excited and I believe we can be in the mix. As I said, there’s a great group of kids, talented group of kids, and (we’ll try) just going out there and trying to stay in that mix and compete with these great programs.”

Worland is the second Class 3A School to hire an alum as their new football coach. Green River opted for an alum about a month ago.

The Warriors will open the 2020 season at home against Thermopolis on Aug. 29.

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