BILLINGS — A familiar name to Billings gridiron fans will be leading the Shepherd football team next year.
Chris Dixon, a former star quarterback for the Billings Outlaws indoor team and head coach with the Billings Wolves, has been hired to lead the Class B Mustangs. The news was announced Wednesday night by Shepherd AD Rich Hash.
It will be Dixon's first time as a head coach at the high school level, he said. Dixon was an assistant at Billings Senior in 2006 and 2007 under Mark Sulser. He was also an assistant at Will James Middle School two seasons ago.
"This is a great start to get back to the high school level and start a program and have an opportunity to help young men become men," Dixon said. "That's a big thing for me is the opportunity to give back to the game I love so much. I want to give back to a young man who may be in the same situation and has passion and love."
Dixon coached the expansion Wolves in the Indoor Football League for two seasons. The Wolves earned a playoff berth and posted an 8-9 record in 2016. In the team's first season, the Wolves were 5-9 and missed the playoffs.
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Before becoming an indoor football coach, Dixon was one of the best indoor quarterbacks, and in 2015 was selected for the Indoor Football League Hall of Fame one year after retiring.
He returned to the indoor game and in 2017 Dixon led the Texas Revolution to the Champions Indoor Football League title.
Overall, Dixon said he played indoor football for 11 seasons, including suiting up for Billings from 2005-10. The 37-year-old, Oakland, California, native, played on seven championship teams. Three of the titles were in Billings, three in Sioux Falls and the final one in Texas.
Shepherd finished 2-7 last year. Dixon succeeds Brandon Arlian, who resigned earlier in the offseason, at Shepherd.
Dixon has spent the past three years with the Montana Outlaws youth football program for grades 5-8 as a director and coach. He is the director of the Mighty Football League for grades 2-5. He’ll remain on the board with the Outlaws and remain the director of the Mighty Football League. He is the director of the Billings Sports Plex.
Dixon said he realized at this stage in his life he wants to help high school athletes.
“I want to help kids get to college,” Dixon said. “I help a lot of kids right now get to college not coaching high school, so I thought it would be more impactful for me to go in the fall to a high school.
“I’ve always wanted to be a high school coach and make an impact there. I have my degree now and am trying to go after my master's at some point.”
Email Gazette Deputy Sports Editor John Letasky at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsJohnL