The Chugiak football program has officially entered a new era.
Roger Spackman, Chugiak’s junior varsity coach last season, was named the new Mustangs’ head coach this week. He fills a vacancy left by Duncan Shackelford, who retired after Chugiak ended last season with a first-round playoff loss to Service.
Shackelford, who won back-to-back state titles as Dimond’s head coach in 2000-01, coached at Chugiak for 10 seasons and led the Mustangs to a state title game in 2009.
“It’s always hard to replace a guy who has had such great success,” Spackman said. “I just look forward to working with the kids and the community. It’s just awesome situation out here.”
It’s unlikely the Mustangs will continue to run the wishbone offense Shackelford’s teams were known for, but Spackman said they will stick to option football.
“We’ll probably use a flex-bone type offense, kind of like what Navy and Air Force run, but that will be developed over the next few months.”
Spackman, 46, has lived in Eagle River since 1998 and has two kids who attend Chugiak, where Spackman teaches physical education. Prior to this school year, Spackman taught at East High and was head coach of the football team there for nine seasons, before quitting after the 2008 season.
A busy schedule forced his departure, and he took a break by coaching the East flag football team from 2009-11.
“Flag football wasn’t quite so demanding,” Spackman said.
Spackman returned to the boys’ game as the Chugiak C-team coach in 2012.
“To be able to coach close to home is just awesome,” he said.