Heald, Lowther resign from basketball coaching posts at Rifle
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Rifle’s boys and girls basketball programs will have new leaders next season.
Both girls head coach Stephanie Heald and boys frontman Chris Lowther have resigned.
Heald is headed to Lubbock, Texas, where her husband, Jeremy, landed a job at an auto dealership. The couple’s move is planned for this summer.
Lowther, who will remain on as a math teacher at Rifle High School, said he “just felt like it was time to resign and move on.”
Heald spent four seasons on the job. Lowther held his post for 10 seasons.
Both leave their programs behind with nothing but fond memories.
“Great memories,” said Lowther, whose Rifle teams won more than 100 games under his watch. “Lots of great kids, and just a whole lot of great games. I can remember almost every possession in certain games. I’ve had a lot of good memories, especially of the kids, early in my career through this year.”
The toughest part of moving on for Heald, a physical education teacher at Rifle High, is leaving her players behind.
“That was the hardest part, having to tell them I was leaving,” she said. “That’s the part I dreaded the most. Coaching is such a part of me. I’ve been coaching since I started teaching seven years ago. It’s just a matter of I’m not going to be by them, I’m not going to be a part of it.”
Both coaches are coming off successful 2011-12 campaigns.
Rifle’s boys made the 3A state playoffs and finished up with a 9-15 record. The girls, who a season earlier made Class 3A’s round of eight, were 19-5 and advanced to the round of 16.
Heald believes her program has a chance to make some serious noise in forthcoming years.
“I would have loved to win a championship at some point, but I think, in the next few years, we have some girls who could do that,” she said. “I’ve heard some great things about our upcoming freshmen, and with Chante [Church] and Kailee [Cordova] for next year, along with Jasmine Figueira and Joey Kuheim, they’ll do just fine.”
Lowther said he’ll likely re-enter the coaching arena at some point in the future.
“I’m sure it’s in the cards,” Lowther said. “My grandfather was a teacher and a coach. So was my dad and my mom. It kind of runs in the family.”
Heald, whose second child is due to be born in roughly a month, probably won’t be out of the game for long, either.
“It’s just been a part of me,” she said. “I’d love to find a coaching job down there, even if at first it’s just as a volunteer or if I have to work my way back up.”
Beyond their affinity for coaching and the timing of their departure, Heald and Lowther are linked in another way. They’re both identical twins.
“We always laugh because I’m an identical twin and she’s an identical twin,” Lowther said. “We’d always laugh that we’ve got to be the only school in the country where both basketball coaches are twins.”
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