After 14 years serving as an offensive coordinator for one of the country’s powerhouse NCAA Division II programs, Gillette native Charlie Flohr got his first head football coaching gig this winter when he was hired by the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
“The transition’s gone well,” Flohr said. “Obviously, leaving an established program was difficult for me, but it gives me an opportunity to go to a place that I knew a lot about, closer to family, and an institution I feel very comfortable moving to and taking over a program that has a lot of up side to it.”
Flohr, 41, has never been a head coach of a program, but it was time to move on professionally and move his family closer to Gillette, he said.
Before the hire, he was the offensive coordinator at Northwest Missouri State for 14 years. He helped the Bearcats to four NCAA titles (playing in seven championship games) and a 133-11 conference record.
“A lot of it was the kids that we had. Year in and year out, we tried to go out and recruit the best kids from a character standpoint and also, obviously, from a football standpoint,” Flohr said about the success of his previous team. “The people you went to work with everyday, you genuinely cared about, and that made it very easy to go to work every day.”
Flohr said that he will still play an “integral” part of the Hardrockers’ offense in his new position.
Soon after Flohr got to Rapid City, he picked up a defensive coordinator in Vance Winter, with whom he played college football. And he added offensive coordinator Ryan Gent, a former colleague at Northwest Missouri.
He then signed his first freshman class of 18 in early February.
The Hardrockers went 3-8 last season under four-year head coach Zach Tinker, who resigned in November. Flohr was hired as the 37th South Dakota Mines football coach in December.
They haven’t had a winning season since 2015, but Flohr expects to change that as spring ball starts Wednesday.
The key to that is “just coming in and changing the culture,” Flohr said about his goal for the first year. “The last couple years, they were in a lot of close games and just weren’t able to finish.
“It’s just time for us to turn the page from the football standpoint and go out and win a few more football games.”
Flohr played college football at Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota, before beginning his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Northwest Missouri.
Before that, he learned the game and found the love of the other things that come with football as a Campbell County High School quarterback.
“A lot of the stuff that I remember from high school is the relationships that were built within the athletic events,” said Flohr, a 1997 CCHS graduate. “I still try and follow it and talk to a lot of those same people.
“I have a lot of great memories of playing there at Campbell County, and (I’m) still trying to keep those relationships established and moving forward.”