Hays High’s Cornelsen takes new job

There are some jobs that are just too good to pass up.  For the Hays High Indian’s football and track coach Ryan Cornelsen, this was one of them. Cornelsen has announced his resignation at Hays High after five seasons.  Cornelsen will be taking over as head football coach for the Hutchinson Salthawks, who recently had their coach Randy Dreiling resign for a similar position at St. Thomas Aquinas.  He also will serve as an assistant for the track program.

Cornelsen had immediate success in Hays winning his first seven games in a 7-2 season that included a loss to Hutchinson in district play.  In fact, his Indians hosted Hutchinson in a 2011 opening round loss.  Cornelsen went 35-12 over his five seasons in Hays and is 88-24 in his two head coaching stops in Hays and La Crosse.  His 35 wins rank him sixth all-time at Hays High and his 74.5 percent winning percentage ranks first.

In a sport measured by post-season success, Cornelsen was able to do something at Hays that hadn’t been done since 1995 — make the playoffs.  He led Hays to the playoffs in 2011 and 2012, the first time in school history that the Indians had made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.

Hays was also crowned Western Athletic Conference champions three times under Cornelsen — 2009, 2011 and 2012.
In his time with the Indians, he also led boys track team to four consecutive team titles in four opportunities.  Cornelsen plans to stay with Hays through the spring semester and coach the track team as well.
  • hmmmm

    Well that should open up some more funding to pay the teachers. About $72,000 more

    • or not

      If they bring in a teacher with the same degree and experience to be the head football and track coach, they won’t save a dime. Bring in someone with a master’s and more teaching experience and it will cost the district even more. Might want to do some research on how a negotiated agreement works.

      • paula

        $72,000 for football and track coaching. ridiculous.

        • or not

          Wrong, again do some research on a negotiated agreement. I don’t know the exact amounts, but he get an amount for football ($5,000 – $6000 would be my guess), an amount for track (maybe $3,000 – $4,000?), an amount for summer weights (not sure on amount), and an amount to be a teacher. That is determined based on his education and years of experience. I’m guessing if the $72,000 is correct, his teaching salary is somewhere in the $50,000’s and he probably has a master’s degree. So sorry to burst your bubble but nobody in Kansas high school is paid $72,000 to coach.

          • canner

            I really don’t know the Coach. What courses does he teach? does he have a masters?

          • kansasopengov.org
          • WOW

            All that showed me was Hays teachers are over paid and have no reason to complain. Hays kids should be #1 in the state based on those salaries.

          • Reality

            So much hate on here… are people really so jealous someone is more talented, makes more money and has a higher profile than themselves? Get over it. “Or Not” has it right — the $72K is aggregate number; a teaching contract (strength/conditioning teacher) and two major sports. Which, BTW, means about 70-80 hours a week for most of the year between class time, practices and game travel. I doubt many commenters on this page spend as much time with their kids as Ryan Cornelson spends with his students and players.

            While he’s not perfect, he does make a determined effort to teach his students/players values many are not getting at home. The same could be said for 90% of the teachers at Hays High. They more than earn their salaries. Best of luck in Hutch, Coach Cornelson, and to your family. It’s been a pleasure knowing you.

        • Not ridiculous

          That pay ranks him 3rd in the WAC, not ridiculous. Also take into account he was the reason for a $500,000 building that only cost the district $10,000, that alone covered his salary for 6.8 years. Show me another teacher/coach that has done the same????? If Hays would have backed the coach the way any other town would have, he would have built a winning program that would have brought in more money to the district than what the district was paying him. But when a town is used to losing and has no pride, they don’t understand that.

          • conner

            no one is holding a gun to your head to stay in this community if you think we’re always losers. pack your bags and move with the coach to hutch.

          • Not ridiculous

            I didn’t say anything that was wrong, all sports programs in this town have a history of losing, that’s a fact. If the town had pride and stood behind these programs then they could change those losing ways, but people like you would rather tell people like me to leave rather than try to build something that we can all be proud of.

          • conner

            but i’m not into sports so i don’t care if the team wins or loses. i’d rather cheer on a kid graduating with a high GPA instead of a jock that can throw a discus.

          • Mom

            I take HUGE offense to this! Do you know the GPA of the football kids……I know for a fact I have a son on that team and he gets a 3.7 with all honors classes. So before you go and bash the entire football program, please remember you are talking about children, our future! These children do more than most children in school they are up early, home late and then they do studying.

          • dixon

            “do you know the GPA of the football kids…” no i don’t. do you? if so give it. you only told us about your kid.

          • Mom

            I do not know their GPA’s but a quick glimpse at the honor roll shows that 44 of his so called “jocks” are on the honor roll!

          • Indian Pride

            Conner – are you saying football kids have low GPA’s? Maybe you should get your facts straight. Most of these kids have high GPA’s because they work hard at most everything they do. This is something Coach C. has instilled in them. You have no clue what you are talking about. Coach C. is a great coach who teaches respect and dedication. Obviously you’ve never had a kid play under him!!!!

          • bones

            right high GPA how many bullied the nerd to don the work for the jock

          • other shoe

            Better do some back tracking and find out the district paid more than $10,000 for the FAST building, about $125,000 more. Also the building was to be $300,000 of donations and donated work. It ended up being $700,000 total project cost. Hays was sold a “bill of goods” by an incompetent administration and school board at the time.

          • Not ridiculous

            The state will be, if they have not already. Writing a check to USD 489 for $125,000 for the building. That leaves $10,000. This was known since the beginning but for some reason the district has kept quite about it.

          • beamer

            and the money from the state comes from where? a money tree? no the taxpayers. more wasted money on a stupid weight building. goodbye cornelsen. and take your weight room with ya!

    • Not appreciated!

      Hays does NOT deserve a Coach at the level Coach Cornelsen is at! You have never appreciated what you got and have never appreciated what he has done for Hays High and the community of Hays! This is why he took the Hutch job. There will not be the negative haters in Hutch like there is in Hays! They love winning in football and greatly appreciate great high school coaches! He will be better received in Hutch! You will BIG-TIME miss this coach, you will quickly discover this!

  • ed

    good riddance. now let’s get back to education instead of glorifying the altar of football.

    • Trent

      Be jealous that this man taught 60-80 young men more about life than other teachers have. This guy is first class when it comes to leadership and molding young boys into gentlemen. Hmmmm you are and always have been a Ryan Cornelsen basher, I’m almost 100% sure you will soon get a hutch paper account just so you can bash him on there too. Best of luck to him.

      • ed

        cry me a river trent. good riddance.

      • Prior Student

        He tought young men more about life? I don’t think so. He’s a complete jerk to students.

        • priorstudent2

          agree. if you weren’t playing football or track or into sports he could care less about ya.

  • Thanks

    Thanks for everything coach. Now Hays will get back to what they
    know best, losing. Don’t listen to the haters, they will complain about
    the next coach also. That’s what happens when someone tries to change things
    for the better but all the overpaid teachers can only see dollar signs.
    For those of us who recognize all the good that you did for the kids and the
    district, WE THANK YOU. Good luck at Hutch, you deserve it.

  • runner

    us so called lower class teachers (you know the math and science type people) have to fight tooth and nail to get classroom supplies to help educate our students. but mention sports!!! anything you want coach. shameful. education first then we’ll concentrate on kicking a football.

    • Keep running

      I didn’t read where somebody called you lower class (pity party).
      Stop feeling sorry for yourself and teach. The coaches have to fight for
      every dollar as well and the budgets for sports are about 1/5th of the budgets
      the other WAC teams get. As for supplies, now that coach is leaving it
      will not free up any money for your supplies, he wasn’t getting that money and
      he had to raise any money over the $1500 budget for football and $0 for
      track. Are you out trying to raise money
      for your classroom or are you expecting a hand out? While you bash
      coaches and sports you should be teaming up with them and going after the
      school board about their horrible spending habits, I have never heard such high
      paid teachers whine about so much, nothing will make the teachers happy.

  • Arthur Doyle

    Any halfway decent coach with even a slight modicum of ambition will only ever use Hays as a stepping stone in their career. It has been happening since Coach Cross was fired.

    • Indian Pride

      You are an idiot to bring up coach cross and Cornelsen in the same breath. Cross was the worst coach ever and left the town being a disgrace. You are a idiot to not know the difference between a good coach and cross. I suppose you were also a Blosser fan?

      • Arthur Doyle

        I volley your own allegation back at you sir, if you interpreted my post as in any way being a comparison of the two coaches. As to the matter of coach Blosser I have no opinion whatsoever.

    • Uncle Thomas

      Pretty clear to me you are merely referencing since the Cross era.
      I however learned a lot from Coach Cross. Had many personal talks with him as a student and he always took time for conversation away from football. His wife was a good person as well except for the poor choice she made at the end.

  • Don’t Drink The Haterade

    Thank you coach Cornelson for doing so much more than being a top notch coach for HHS. You modeled to these young men that there’s more to life than football, yet as a high schooler, that’s an exciting part of their life. You’ve done more for HHS and this community than most of the people who comment on here. Don’t stoop to “their” level and drink the Haterade man…appreciate you! Thanks for showing others what it means to be a great husband, dad, teacher, coach and example to our community of Hays. We will miss you and wish you the best in Hutchinson.

  • Kurt David

    Wow – What a loss for Hays High, the community of Hays and
    for countless kids who had their lives changed by Coach Cornelsen. Congratulations Coach – Hutchinson is fortunate
    to have you.

    Foremost, thank you for what you have done for so many young
    men and women at Hays High. You have changed
    many kids lives, giving them direction and a sense of the importance of focus, dedication and hard work. You have set the bar
    higher for these young people and us as parents.

    • No more football

      Coach Cornelson may be a great guy. But that does not negate the fact that he is and many others including parents, grandparents, are encouraging a sport that may have lasting affects on the brain. We are hearing about concussions all over the place and the resulting permanent brain damage . Instead of haling the Coach we should be asking ourselves why we are cheering on a violent sport and why are parents above all encouraging their sons to participate in a sport that can cause brain damage. Screaming about the sanctity of life is really just a bunch of malarky in this country.

  • Mom

    What a huge loss for Hays High – not only the football program but to the young men and women he has coached. He has taught these kids that in order to achieve your goals it requires hard work and dedication. There’s not a better “life lesson”. Coach Cornelson you will truly be missed by many. Good luck at Hutchinson!

  • Indian Alum

    Sad to see Cornelsen leave after building up our HHS football program. Not long ago Hays was the whipping boy of the WAC and he has turned it into a contender. I sure would have liked to seen what Coach would have done in 4A. Best of luck to Coach Cornelsen in Hutch.

  • Old Bob

    Some of these comments are borderline hysterical. Hays High was so very lucky to get Coach C and the success he brought. Maybe some of you should move to Texas and see what they pay coaches, and pay for weight rooms and stadiums. Western Kansas has to be filled with some of the most uninformed and mislead people in the world, who somehow have access to the information and don’t make use of it. Congrats to Coach C

    • hmmmm

      Hey old Bob NEWS FLASH this is not Texas this is Kansas, and football is not even close to Texas football either with coaching or overall talent. So that us not a good comparison. As far as Coach C being a good coach I would say he is a great track coach, but an average football coach. He is taking over a job for a team that he couldn’t beat, because he got out coached against them. As far as them money he got here, the reason I was so bitter about that is because USD 489 put a pay freeze on teachers salaries the year he came, but yet the had the funding to pay him $72,000. I wish Coach C the best. All honestly if he can keep Hutch at the level they have been I will be the first to say I was wrong about his coaching of football, as hutch will be in a somewhat of a rebuilding stage.

      • Old Bob

        Thanks for the News Flash, but maybe we should quit making that excuse so we can try to elevate our athletes to higher levels, so they can potentially get their schooling paid for by playin a sport. I think people are just going to have to get used to the fact that football coaches put in an unreal amount of time and should be compensated. Let alone the fact that he also is the HC for track and won 4 straight titles. You also called him average? He’s completely turned the HHS program around.

  • Tshock

    Best of luck Coach. I hope you find success in Hutch.

    • ref

      Good Luck to Coach Ryan Cornelsen

      Now I hope USD489 board calls the coach at Lacrosse High School as sure seems that program didn’t step backwards after the coaching change.

  • Yahooserious

    Good riddense to the man who took two teacher salaries. I love sports a much as the next guy but for the 99.9999% of
    High school
    Athletes; it ends in high school. Waste of money.

  • Lucas Town

    All of this negativity over something so silly. People should worry about the things they can control. Coach C is going to a place (Hutch) that has a much better pool of talent than what Hays can offer. Good Luck Ryan! The people of Hays will find out exactly what they have lost when they are back to never making the playoffs.

    • jacksonville

      we’ll find out what we’ve lost? i doubt it. even with Coach C the home football stands were never full. In other words: we don’t care. with the explosion of head concussions in football in the media last few years football will be on a steady decline. who cares if hays high wins or loses any more football games

      • The truth

        You are right, Hays does not care and that is why we do not deserve a coach of his caliber. Good luck in Hutch, a place you will be respected.

        • Not appreciated

          The jacksonville guys comments are exactly why Hays will be very lucky to see a coach of the caliber of Coach Cornelsen! Hays does not and did not deserve this coach. Completely turned around the work-ethic, attitude and instilled some PRIDE in the community when it comes to FB and Track!! How many communities would absolutely love a teacher/coach like this? My guess is hundreds! Hays has way too many negative people when it comes to sports and what it does for kids!! My guess is most of these negative posters have never played or worked hard at any sport or anything else and do not understand the value of hard work! Good luck to Coach “C”, he will soon be in a much better environment than Hays!!

  • ref

    Good Luck to Coach Ryan Cornelsen

    Now I hope USD489 and the AD, call the coach at La Crosse High School as it sure seems that program didn’t step backwards after the coaching change.

  • Uncle Thomas

    Best of luck Coach! You deserve more then the ridicule of so many naysayers.
    I only wish teachers and administrators were half as motivated as you. Walk in the door strive for anything, but mediocrity and then move on up the ladder in your area of expertise. I wish you much success in Hutchinson and beyond as I would not expect you to stop there!
    I have never met the Coach, but this is how one succeeds in life. Set goals, obtain and keep moving upward!

    • Publius


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  • bones

    there should be NO coaches that make that much money. but welcome to this sports minded America, where you are awarded to play not learn. and dont give me this malarkey that you have to keep high grades to be in sports, jocks always get around that, bully the nerd to do their homework, the teacher is not going to flunk the top player, because they would get fired, BUT if all sports were taken out of all schools, america just might be a smater place to live.

  • Joe

    I’d leave town too if somebody crashed a car into my livingroom.

  • Hardball

    So back to Average we will go! HHS had no athletic director ,it all starts there . They will go back to Average is OK. The place where coaches go and stay forever to have a job with no results. Baseball,basketball,soccer,wrestling, all coaches that haven’t done anything but be Average. New blood is needed from the top to everywhere. Just glad I don’t have daughters as all of there sports don’t even exist with the way the AD hires for those sports. Clean house and start over . Good coaches move away from this fine town. That’s the fact Jack!

  • Rick

    I have known Coach C since he began his coaching career and I think that most people don’t have a clue how compassionate this man is when it comes to the kids whose lives he has touched. It’s true football is a game where injuries frequently happen, no one knows this more than Coach C does. That’s why he wanted and built the new training facility because athletes (not just football players) and any other student that he taught perform better when they are in condition and the injuries are minimized or maybe prevented by a well conditioned and in shape body. Coach C spent many sleepless nights worrying about an injured student he treated them as if it was his own family that was hurt or injured. It’s easy to criticize someone for what they are not and for most people its hard to praise or thank them for what they are…I for one know that Coach C would be the first to admit that he has made mistakes and that he has probably ruffled a few feathers along the way but he has also changed the lives of many young people and they are better people because of Coach C’s guidence. Is he worth 72,000 dollars a year? Absolutely! I agree that most teachers are probably not paid what they are worth but the last time I checked teaching is a voluntary career and I would guess that every teacher chose their profession and knew how much they would be paid when they accepted the job. I’m sure the job that is being vacated by Coach C is going to be up for grabs and anyone is free to apply for the position but maybe one thing you should keep in mind is that most teachers don’t have 3000 parents sitting in their classroom criticizing every move or decision they make. Ryan my friend I wish you and your family the best at your new job and thank you for all the good football and track you have given the Hays Hi fans the privelege of enjoying but most of all thank you for the many students and atheletes you have helped along the way, you will do well, the city of Hutchinson is lucky to have you and your family as part of their school and community. Good Luck and be well.