Schmitz returns to Rifle’s girls hoops program |

Schmitz returns to Rifle’s girls hoops program

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

It’s going to be just like old times for Rifle High School’s basketball programs.

A pair of coaches are returning to their old jobs as the Bears’ boys and girls head coaches.

Rick Schmitz’s return to the helm of the girls program was approved at this week’s Garfield School District Re-2 board meeting. The veteran coach previously coached at Rifle from 1993 to 2005.

Schmitz coached Coal Ridge’s girls the past five seasons.

Roger Walters, who previously held the boys head coaching gig from 1995 to 2002, returned to that job earlier this month after resigning as Colorado Mesa University’s women’s hoops head coach.

Schmitz brings more than 30 years of coaching experience to Rifle, where the girls have had a successful run in recent years under head coach Stephanie Heald, whose family’s relocation to Texas spurred her resignation.

“He’s obviously been here before, and he had quite a bit of success when he was here,” said Troy Phillips, Rifle’s athletic director. “We feel pretty comfortable with a guy with his experience coming into a program that has been successful the last several years.”

Schmitz, who not only coached at Coal Ridge but was also the school’s athletic director and dean of students, will no longer serve in those capacities. However, he will remain on at Coal Ridge as a counselor.

Keppeler resigns track, cross country posts

In other coaching news at Rifle High School, Josh Keppeler has resigned as head track and field and cross country coach. The young coach, who is stepping away for personal reasons, had nothing but praise for his time with the Bears.

Keppeler took over as head track and field coach midseason last school year. He became the cross country coach this past fall. Overall, he’s been with the programs in some coaching capacity for six years.

“The six years I’ve been coaching, the kids have been great,” he said. “We’ve had some great athletes come through. We’ve had some great performances every year at the state level, not just the last two years.”

Rifle’s boys track and field team won a state title in 2011 and was runner-up in 2012.

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