Walters returning home to coach |

Walters returning home to coach

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

Family means a lot to Roger Walters, and he hasn’t seen enough of his wife and daughters in recent years. With a new job just down the street from his Rifle home, that is changing.

Walters, a 1985 graduate of Rifle High School, is returning to his alma mater, where he’ll coach the boys basketball team. The veteran coach, who previously coached the Bears from 1995 to 2002, is coming off a three-year stint as the women’s basketball head coach at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. He stepped away from that post in late April.

“It was a great job,” Walters said in reference to the Mesa gig. “It’s just that it was 70 miles away from my house. Ever since 2002, I’ve been driving somewhere.”

Prior to arriving at Mesa, Walters coached Roaring Fork High’s boys basketball team from 2003 to 2008. That job also featured some hefty gas bills, something the commuter coach won’t miss.

“I’ve already noticed a difference in my credit card bill, not stopping at the gas station quite as often,” Walters joked. “It’s a much easier commute. It’s less than 10 minutes to the high school. I’ve just been able to be home way more. That’s always a good thing.”

That means more time with his wife, Christy, and two daughters, Taylor and Elly.

Walters will teach social studies at Rifle High, where Taylor will be a senior next school year. High school is still a couple of years away for Elly.

The team Walters is taking over finished the 2011-12 season with a 9-15 record and a playoff appearance. Rifle lost to The Pinnacle in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs. The Bears will play at the Class 4A level next school year.

“I’ve only been able to watch them for about three or four halves,” said Walters, whose elder daughter played for Rifle’s girls basketball team. “I watched the boys a little bit when I’d watch Taylor play, so I kind of have an idea of what’s there, but not really.”

Walters hope that success in other boys programs parlays to success on the basketball court.

“They’ve had such good years in football and baseball,” he said. “There are some good athletes there. Hopefully, that translates to success in basketball.”

Either way, Walters seems very much at peace with his decision to return to the high school ranks.

“It’s always good to be home,” he said. “It’s been really comfortable. We’ve had a couple open gyms so far. It’s like I never left.”

Walters guided Mesa to a 38-42 overall record in three seasons. Under his watch, the Mavericks made back-to-back Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference appearances.

“The last two years, we had a chance to recruit some great kids,” Walters said. “We made the Shootout two years in a row. … I’m really proud of what we’ve done. The program’s in really good shape, and there’s a great recruiting class coming in. Whoever comes in should do well.”

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