Chuck Syverson is no stranger to facing tough challenges. His latest will be to try to turn around the struggling Laramie Plainsmen football program.

Syverson says, "I'm pretty excited about the opportunity. I've had a chance to watch a lot of game film the last couple of weeks. Saw some good things on film, and think there's a lot of potential there. I think if we can get the right guys in place in the coaching positions, and get the players to buy into our program and our philosophy, I think we have a chance to be successful right out of the gate."

Laramie High School Principal and acting-AD Kim Sorenson said he is really excited about this hire and looking forward to it.

Sorenson said, "If you've been paying attention to football in Wyoming over the last four or five years, Chuck Syverson has to be one of the top three or four coaches in the state, period. I really liked the style of ball that you see, so he was really a difficult person not to consider at all. This just seemed like the time to go after him."

Syverson inherits a program that has fallen on hard times. Laramie has not had a .500 or better record since the 2000 season. They've won just 19 games over the past 12 years. He will be the third coach in the last three years and fifth in the last 11 and takes over for Ted Holmstrom, who resigned in late January.

He understands having to rebuild, saying, "The only positions that really seem like they're ever open out there are the ones that have been struggling. For better or for worse, I've had a lot of experience with that. I have been pretty successful."

Syverson comes to the Gem City after four years at the helm of the Thermopolis Bobcats, where he went 30-14. They won back-to-back 2A State Titles in 2009 and 2010. In that situation he took over for a program that had won only three games the previous four seasons.

He said it all starts with developing a respect and a relationship with the players and the coaches. It has to be treated as an entire program, not just a varsity program.

"It's about working on developing that winning attitude. That can come in a lot of forms. Whether it be in the classroom, in the weight room, on the practice field or on the game field, but to me it's an attitude. As soon as that changes, then things will change on the game field Friday nights."

His biggest challenge he said is, "Just getting bigger, faster and stronger with the athletes, and teaching those guys how to win. That's something that really takes some time, and if we're fortunate enough to get a few wins early on in the year, then that can kind of build upon itself. If not, then we're going to have to find some ways in practice, through competition, to get those guys that winning attitude."

Chuck Syverson's teams' typically utilizes a spread offensive attack, though that's dependent on personnel. He's not big on a certain scheme defensively. He just wants kids to understand their reads, tackle well, create turnovers and do a good job of reacting to whatever reads tell them, and going aggressively from that point on. They'll spend a lot of time on special teams. They will try to be aggressive and create some opportunities.

Sorenson said, "If you get a chance to sit down and talk 'X's and O's' with this guy, he will blow you away with what he knows on both sides of the ball, and he's a huge special teams guy."

Syverson is a veteran teacher and coach for over 20 years in six different states, and he's anxious to get back to the 4A level of football to see what he can do with the Plainsmen.