Born to coach: Ramunnos embrace family tradition |

Born to coach: Ramunnos embrace family tradition

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Craig Bisacre The TribuneLewis-Palmer head football coach Tony Ramunno celebrates a homecoming victory with his team earlier this season. Ramunno and the Rangers will face Glenwood Springs in the quarterfinal round of the 3A state playoffs on Saturday.

The Ramunno brothers didn’t emerge from the womb with a clipboard and whistle in hand, but they may as well have.

Coaching is what the Ramunno brothers do. It’s what their dad, legendary Steamboat Springs head wrestling and assistant football coach Carl Ramunno, did. Coaching is what makes the Ramunnos tick.

John, the oldest of the three, is the head football coach at Eagle Valley High School. Tony, the middle brother, is in charge of the football program at Lewis-Palmer. Joe, the baby brother, is the frontman at Mesa State College.

As youngsters growing up in Steamboat Springs, football seized center stage in the Ramunnos’ life. Once their playing careers wound down – all three played college ball and Joe even enjoyed a brief stint in the National Football League with the Chicago Bears – each of them turned to coaching.

“That’s what we do,” Tony said. “We saw it growing up, went off and had the chance to play college football and it looked attractive. It looked fun to be a coach.”

And that’s all they’ve done since.

Even the two Ramunno sisters have ties to coaching.

“Their husbands [coach],” John said. “You can’t be in our family unless you have something to do with football.”

It certainly makes for some interesting family gatherings.

“One time, we all met up for Thanksgiving and everybody brought game film,” John recalled. “We went downstairs and were all watching.”

The rest of the family quickly put the kibosh on the film sessions.

“That’s the last time it happened,” John said. “It wasn’t good for any of us. We spent too much time, but it’s a great learning thing when we all do get together.”

With Tony’s 9-2 Rangers in the playoffs for the first time in since 2002, phone calls stand in for the family film sessions. Lewis-Palmer will face Glenwood Springs, a team John’s Devils face every year in the Western Slope League, in the 3A state quarterfinals on Saturday.

Tony’s already sought his brother’s advice on how to deal with the 10-1 Demons.

“John talked to me on the telephone,” Tony shared. “He said, ‘You better look out.'”

“Well, I don’t know if I gave him much advice,” John said. “We didn’t have a very good game against Glenwood.”

John will miss Saturday’s game. He drew an elk tag and promised his son a hunting trip up in Steamboat.

“Tony was supposed to go with us,” John said, “but I’m so happy he’s in the playoffs. I know he is, too.”

If Lewis-Palmer does find a way to advance past the second-seeded Demons, another Ramunno Thanksgiving film session could very well be in the offing.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User