A coach who’s good for more than his record
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Coaches and the media too often don’t get along.
That’s why, upon arriving on the scene in Glenwood Springs just over a year ago, I was thrilled to discover more than a few affable, cooperative coaches in the Post Independent’s coverage area.
And none were more pleasant than now former Roaring Fork High School boys basketball coach Roger Walters.
The first time I covered his team ” and every time thereafter ” he met my presence warmly, never treating me like an obnoxious reporter he had some wretched, torturous obligation to speak with after a game.
That first game, he directed me to whatever player I wished to interview and actually asked questions about my background. It’s somewhat rare to get that from coaches in this profession.
And I really don’t blame coaches. It’s easy to see why many would harbor distrust toward the media, particularly in a day and age where 24-hour news cycles make the world of news oh so cut-throat ” at any expense.
His trusting nature is what always made it refreshing to talk to Roger. He is one of those trusting few who remembers that reporters are people, too.
He’s one of those guys that returns every phone call, is mindful of deadlines and actually seems happy to talk to you.
Walters seems to employ that same philosophy with his players, too.
More than once I caught him telling a player, “I appreciate you,” or administering admonishment with a delicate touch, in a way that got across what he wanted fixed without ridicule and belittlement.
Walters is wonderful with the Xs and Os, but even better with people.
A story my colleague Joelle Milholm wrote on Walters’ resignation, which was long rumored and officially announced just after Roaring Fork’s 3A state tournament trip to Fort Collins, embodied what the man is all about.
In it, she mentioned Walters’ annual ritual of bringing a bouquet of yellow roses to the women manning the entrance at Moby Arena and how officials enjoy refereeing his team’s games.
Sounds about right.
I have a feeling that had one of Walters’ Roaring Fork teams not made state in his five years there, he still would have made the trip, roses in hand.
Walters’ coaching record is amazing ” he holds a 209-77 win-loss mark in 12 years as head coach at Rifle and Roaring Fork ” and I’m certain his people skills are a big part of that.
I just hope Roger resurfaces as a coach somewhere soon, not only because he’s easy to deal with from a media perspective but because he has so much to offer the basketball world.
Contact Jeff Caspersen: 384-9123
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As a new transplant to the area, each week I will feature a trail within the Garfield County limits. For this inaugural week, I’m highlighting Glenwood Springs’ own Atkinson Canal Trail.