CHEYENNE – Josh Bott knows all about Cheyenne Central’s success in the swimming pool.
He saw it when he swam at Cheyenne East, when he was an assistant for newly-retired Indians coach Mark Miller, and then when he coached at Campbell County and Thunder Basin High Schools in Gillette.
Central captured two girls state titles and one on the boys side under Miller’s tutelage. Adding to that tradition is one of the reasons Bott applied for the job when Miller retired after this past season.
“They’ve had a lot of strong teams, they get a lot of support from their community, their triad and their administration,” said Bott, who graduated from East in 1998. “They have good kids and great athletes, and I’m really looking forward to coaching them.
“I’m excited to bring some of the things that worked well for me up in Gillette, while keeping some of the great things that have been implemented throughout the years at Central. I want to mix the new with some of the old things and build upon that tradition.”
Bott coached Campbell County from 2011-17, winning five Class 4A girls state championships and three boys titles. Seven of Bott’s Gillette swimmers posted times good enough to earn All-American honors from USA Swimming.
He coached Thunder Basin during its inaugural season before stepping down to return to Cheyenne as an elementary school physical education teacher.
“My wife and I were both lucky to get teaching positions in this district in 2018, and she thought it would be nice for our kids to live where I grew up after they lived where she grew up,” said Bott, who will teach Physical Education at Triumph High starting this fall. “It all worked out.”
Bott’s philosophy for building a winning team starts with creating the right culture.
“I want to have a family feel on the team and create a work ethic where you give everything you’ve got every day,” he said. “Swimming is a tough sport with a tough season. You train twice a day and compete every weekend.
“You have to create an environment where student-athletes and their parents want to buy in. You spend so much time together, so you have to have underlying respect for each other and be willing to give everything you’ve got. That will be my focus right out of the gate.”
Bott – who was a finalist for National High School Athletic Coaches Association swimming coach of the year in 2017 – was part of a deep pool of applicants, Central athletics director Chad Whitworth said.
“His résumé, and all the success he has had as a head coach, stands out,” Whitworth said. “I know he would tell you he had some great kids, but it takes someone to cultivate an environment that challenges kids and motivates them to accomplish what they did at Campbell County.
“We hope he can bring that and add that to our program. We had several really good candidates, which was really nice. The committee felt like he was the right fit for us going forward.”