Jun 13, 2017 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterRiverton's state-championship-winning boys head basketball boss is moving on to the same position at Lander Valley High School.
Stuart Mullins, who led the Riverton Wolverines boys basketball team to a 28-1 season and the program's first state championship this year, has resigned his teaching and coaching positions at Riverton High School.
He has accepted a teaching position in Lander and will become the Tigers' head boys basketball coach pending approval by the Lander school board.
Mullins coached in Riverton for the past seven seasons, the last three as the Wolverines' head coach.
"All seven years have been extremely enjoyable. I have nothing but good things to say about Riverton and my time here. I've loved every minute of it, have coached really good kids and have met really good people," said Mullins. "I owe a lot of our success and my success to (former Riverton head coach) Dick Quayle."
Mullins, who coached Riverton's summer squad at the Central Wyoming basketball camp last week, met with his Riverton team on Monday evening and shared the news of his impending departure.
"It was tough. It was my worst nightmare," said Mullins. "It was something that happened to me when I was in high school, and I understood their emotions."
Mullins came to Riverton from Star Valley, where he had his first teaching job and coached for one year. Mullins grew up in Boise, Idaho and played basketball two years at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, before transferring to Idaho State to complete his education and was the Riverton school district's behavior analyst.
"It was a blessing to have him as my coach. I wish (him) luck in the future," said Kyren Higgs, a senior on Riverton's state championship team, via Twitter on Monday evening.
Mullins, who has lived in Lander since moving to Fremont County, said being closer to his young family -- his second child was born in May -- was the basis for his decision. His wife, Chelcie, is a nurse in the Lander school district.
Asked whether Riverton's looming return to Class 4-A in basketball (in the 2018-19 season) had anything to do with his resignation, Mullins said it was all about family.
"That is something that Riverton has dealt with for a really long time," said Mullins.
"We have strapped it up and were willing to do it again. They'll do it, and they will have success."
RHS activities director Reggie Miller said he will work to fill the vacant head coaching position as quickly as possible, adding Mullins has arranged for assistant coaches Quayle and Beau Sheets to continue with summer camps and open gym responsibilities.
"I'm stunned and saddened," said Miller. "Stuart is not only a good basketball coach, but a good man. I was excited for my own son to play for him."
Lander Valley High School activities director Serol Stauffenberg said Monday evening that he's looking forward to having one of the premiere Wyoming basketball coaches get to work in Lander.
"He's a great young coach who is interested in building a program just like he did in Riverton," said Stauffenberg,"all the way down to grades K through 12."
Mullins added he's excited for Riverton's future and will be rooting for the Wolverines except, of course, when they battle Lander.
"The team understood and was completely supportive why I made the decision," said Mullins. "They will go on to do really good things. The cupboard isn't bare."
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