Vail Christian football coach honored for 100th-career win

Tim Pierson received a plaque commemorating his achievement at the school's annual fall fellowship dinner

Vail Christian head football coach Tim Pierson is presented with a plaque commemorating his 100th-career win on Thursday night at the school's annual fall fellowship dinner.
Heidi Cofelice/Courtesy photo

Saints head football coach Tim Pierson secured his 100th-career win last Oct. 29 in a 54-16 victory over Rangely. On Thursday night, Vail Christian honored the coach at its annual parent association fall fellowship dinner.

“This year holds so much to celebrate, especially as we celebrate our school’s 25th anniversary,” stated Steve O’Neil, Vail Christian’s head of school, in a press release.

“We not only want to highlight Tim and our exceptional students but also express gratitude for our school and its ability to cultivate a robust community, promoting academic excellence, building character and fostering spiritual growth. These have been our core values since 1998.”

Pierson was presented a plaque commemorating his achievement over the past two decades of coaching.

“As a coach, Tim was always calm, he was always focused,” said legendary Battle Mountain coach Pat Phelan during his speech Thursday evening. Phelan also achieved 100 career victories during his 30-year tenure at Battle Mountain, and coached Pierson, a 1997 Husky graduate.

Support Local Journalism

“In football, God gave him more ability than most kids,” Phelan said of Pierson. “But in the fourth quarter of every game, everybody is tired, everybody’s beat, everybody’s aching a bit — he would still be fighting.”

Pierson took over the Saints head coaching job from Bob Isbell for the 2004 season. Though he navigated a handful of .500 seasons in those early years, the Saints have generally steamrolled the A-8 Northwest League 8-man conference the past decade. Vail Christian has been undefeated in league play three times in the last four seasons and posted 10-1 overall records in 2014, 2019 and 2021.

“I’ve coached with Tim for 10 years through multiple league championships and state playoff appearances — the man can coach,” said Bob Engleby, the Saints offensive coordinator.

“Most importantly, however, Tim shows a wisdom that always places the athlete first. Quite simply, he cares more about the kids’ success than wins.”

Pat Phelan speaks at during Thursday night’s fall fellowship dinner at Vail Christian. Phelan gave a tribute to Time Pierson, who played for the Huskies under the longtime coach in the late-90s.
Heidi Cofelice/Courtesy photo

Dan Mysnyk, the assistant head of school and Pierson’s defensive coordinator reiterated Engleby’s sentiment, saying that what sets the head coach apart is his ability to “focus on what is best for kids.”

“‘Best’ not only on the football field,” Mysnyk stated. “But also in character development, faith and teamwork.”

According to Phelan, Pierson’s success has stemmed at least partly from his ability to bring great assistants, like Engleby, Mysnyk and others, into the program’s fold.

“Tim would be the first to say it — he hired great staff,” Phelan continued. “He’s got great people around him, he’s got great administration. Not only does he have 100 wins, he has more league victories and league championships than any other coach in the history of Eagle County.”

Want the news to come to you? Get the top stories in your inbox every morning. Sign up here:

In addition to Phelan, former Saints coaches and colleagues Cathy and Charlie Alexander and Sheldon Kuhns were on hand during the tribute.

“Some of my best memories are with these guys, whether it’s track meets with you all coaching,” Pierson said after receiving the microphone. “Phelan, there’s a ton of memories there with football. Sheldon here and all these other coaches — a lot of years, so thank you for that. … Thank you. This is a huge honor.”

The Saints are 2-2 this season and open up league play Friday night against Plateau Valley. With 102 wins and counting, Pierson’s journey is “an enduring testament to his embodiment of the school’s mission,” a press release stated.

“He doesn’t just coach the game; he molds young minds, bodies, and spirits, preparing them for lives of purpose, service, and leadership.”

Support Local Journalism