Johnson is Noxon's new boys coach


December 31, 2020

With the big fella gone, who is going to step into his shoes?

The Noxon Red Devil boys will have a decidedly different look this season, both on the floor and on the bench.

Gone from the Devil sideline this season are the father-son team of coach Ryan Weltz and his All-State C progeny Rylan Weltz. Rylan was the heart and soul of Noxon’s attack, a 6-foot-5 pillar of strength who led the Devils in scoring and rebounding last year on his way to first team District 14C and All-State C honors.

With Rylan now at Dawson Community College in Glendive on a basketball scholarship, and his father Ryan now retired from coaching in an effort to follow his son’s college career, the Devils needed a new coach and a new plan for Noxon boys basketball.

This is precisely where Ben Johnson, the new head man for the Noxon boys, enters the picture.

The shop teacher at Noxon High School, Johnson steps into the void created by the departures of the Weltz’s, and looks forward to the new challenge. Not exactly new to this coaching game, Johnson brings a wealth of bench experience with him into his new job.

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Having coached primarily girls programs in the past, Johnson said he has made stops at Whitehall, White Sulphur Springs and Gardiner during his coaching career, and guided the Gardiner girls to the 2015 State C championship during his three-year stay as coach in that Montana community.

Johnson said he has been a head coach a total 11 years. He said defense and fundamentals have been the name of the game in practice with his Noxon boys so far.

“We have been working hard in practice,” Johnson said. “I am kind of a defensive-minded guy so we have been working on that a lot. That and fundamentals have been our focus.”

With the aircraft-carrier Weltz gone, Johnson said the Devils will have a different look this winter. “We are not very big underneath,” Johnson said, “so we will be relying on team speed and defense.”

The list or returning players for the Devils includes seniors Avery Vogel and Brody Hill, juniors Nathan Cano, Derreck Christensen, Gunnar Swanson and Wyatt Lackner and sophomore Alex Menzel.

Jared Mellott returns as the varsity assistant and junior varsity coach.

With one more week of practice to prepare, Noxon basketball teams begin season play hosting Troy for a boy-girl doubleheader next Friday, January 8.


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