To replace one of the winningest coaches in South Dakota prep football history, Yankton High School chose someone whose roots are steeped in Buck tradition.
Brady Muth, a Yankton High School alum who has spent the past seven years as an assistant varsity coach in the program, has been named the next head football coach for the Bucks.
Muth replaces Arlin Likness, who retired last month after coaching the Bucks for 18 seasons. Likness retired with a 261-101 record and seven state championships, including four at YHS.
“I am excited for the opportunity,” Muth said. “This is the best place to be a football player, or be around the game of football.”
Muth is a 1996 graduate of YHS, and played on the Bucks’ 1994 and 1995 state championship teams. He began his collegiate career at Southwest Minnesota State, playing for the Mustangs before serving as a student-assistant in 1998 and 1999. He finished his academic career at Mount Marty, graduating in 2002.
His teaching and coaching career began at Wakonda High School, serving as co-head coach of the Wakonda/Gayville-Volin program.
“In my first year of teaching and coaching, I learned a lot of tough lessons,” he said. “(Longtime Gayville-Volin coach) Larry Buffington helped me a lot.”
When Wakonda entered its co-op with Irene, Muth worked under longtime coach Brent Mutchelknaus before moving on to Bon Homme, where he worked under another veteran coach, Byron Pudwill. Muth served as the offensive coordinator for the Cavaliers, while also serving as an assistant coach for track and boys’ basketball.
“I can’t explain how much he has helped me,” Muth said of Pudwill.
He returned to his hometown in 2010 and spent one year as a seventh grade coach before joining the varsity staff to work with Likness. Likness was an assistant for the Bucks’ title teams that Muth played on.
“Yankton has always been really important to me. The program here has been really important to me,” Muth said. “It’s played a big role in my life. I’m not special – it’s done that for everyone who’s played here.”
Besides playing for YHS Hall of Fame coaches Max Hawk and Jim Miner, Muth had the opportunity to learn under a number of “legendary” coaches.
“Growing up in the program, you worked with guys like Ray Kooistra, Randy Gross, Mike Merkwan, Lloyd Brunick, Ken Schaefer. My dad (Bob) is one, too,” he said. “All the way through, they were all legends.
“Learning under them, I’ve been blessed, to put it mildly.”
Muth hopes to honor the tradition of Buck football.
“Some of the places that I have been didn’t have the tradition we have here,” he said. “There is a lot of work to go through to create that sense of accountability that tradition gives you.”
But he plans to add his own imprint on that tradition.
“I also think you have to look forward,” he said. “I’m not going to say I’ll change everything that Likness has done, that Miner has done, that Hawk has done … but it will be a different flair, a different flavor to it.
“I am excited for what the future holds.”
During his time at Yankton, Muth has also served as head boys’ tennis coach, and as a varsity assistant coach in track, along with seventh grade football and sixth grade boys’ basketball. Muth and his wife, Jill, who also teaches in the Yankton School District, have four children.
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