THREE FORKS — Coaches Kris Ford and Tyler Palmer have submitted their resignations to the Three Forks High School administration.
Ford has been the high school’s cross country coach for the past two seasons, while Palmer has been at the helm of the football team for the past seven years.
Ford and her husband, David, are moving to Deerfield, Ill., where he has been accepted into the PhD program Trinity University.
“It was hard,” Ford said of the decision. “It’s tough leaving. I just hope whoever takes over the program will continue to grow it.”
Ford was in the process of re-building the cross country program. She had six boys and three girls participate during the 2014 campaign.
“Kris has done a great job with our cross country program,” said Three Forks Athletic Director Mike Sauvageau. “She’s worked with kids that I didn’t think had tons of talent, but they showed up and worked every night. They had fun doing it.”
Ford, who is a graduate of Three Forks High School, has been teaching in the school district for 15 years.
The move will put the Ford’s closer to their two daughters, who are attending college on the east coast.
“It’s going to be tough leaving here,” said Ford. “We’re going to enjoy the next few months. We will be back. My folks still live here.”
Palmer has decided to take some time for himself to enjoy fishing, hunting and just relax a little more during the summer months.
“I’m just ready for a change,” he said. “My experience was great. Worked for great people. Worked with great people. The kids were awesome. The memories we have had and the laughs and tears we had, I will treasure and will keep that with me. I’m just ready for a change.”
Palmer had one winning season as coach when the Wolves advanced to the postseason. Three Forks finished second in District 5B in 2009 with a 3-1 league record. The Wolves lost a first round playoff game against Baker, 35-12, finishing with a 5-4 overall record.
“We had some great years and we had some tougher years, just like any other program,” Palmer noted. “I was proud of what we did. I had a great time. We had some awesome times. All the boys that played for me, I’m so thankful for their time. ”
Palmer, a graduate of Fairfield High School, had a 16-40 overall record and his teams were 8-23 in conference play.
“There’s never been a coach that didn’t want to maybe win a few more games and loss a few less games,” said Palmer. “But from an intangible standpoint of effort and preparation and the little things that are required daily, I wouldn’t change anything I did or my staff did or my football team did.”
Traditionally, Three Forks has had a struggling program, but Palmer did guide them to the postseason in his second season at the helm. It was just the second postseason appearance for the Wolves since 2001.
Three Forks fielded a very young team this past season, finishing 0-8 after several veterans opted not to return for the 2014 campaign.
“He’s had a tough time dealt to him,” said Sauvageau. “He’s done a great job of what’s been offered to him. People don’t realize what he did for our football program. His teams have been very well prepared. He had teams with much less talent that they went up against. It’s going to be hard position to fill.”
Palmer has had a few of his players move on to the college level. His most recent collegiate player is Trenton Woodward, who will play for MSU-Northern in Havre this fall.
Palmer noted that making the decision to step down was difficult.
“Football has taken up half of my life in the last seven years,” he said. “I enjoyed it and would not change anything. But at the same time I’m looking forward to other things that I can get into during that time, whether it will be more fishing, more hunting or more golfing. I’m just looking forward to having more free time.”
Palmer added that it was even more difficult notifying his returning players.
“I’m happy with my decision, although it was difficult when I told the administration,” he said. “It was difficult telling my team. That was a rough day from morning until night. But it was the right decision.”
Palmer also served as and assistant boys basketball coach. He has yet to decide whether he will continue in that capacity. He plans to stay at the school as the art instructor.
“I’m not sure about coaching basketball right now,” said Palmer. “Just focusing on one thing at a time. I love my teaching job.”
Sauvageau said that there are two teachers in the school district who are interested in taking over the cross country program.
“We have a couple teachers that are interested so we are sitting pretty good there,” he said. “The football program we will open it up and hoping to get some quality people there.”