Catching up with … Markee Swank
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – It’s been a while since Markee Tadus played post for the Glenwood Springs girls basketball team. Earlier this month she returned to the valley with a new last name – which is Swank now that she is married – and as a coach instead of a player. Swank journeyed back to her old stomping grounds to help her former head coach Mike Vidakovich run the High Skills girls basketball camp for sixth- through 12th-grade girls. Swank, who starred for the Demons from 1990-94, is used to coaching, as she has been an assistant for the Greeley Central girls hoops squad. Just recently, however, she was promoted to head coach there.If her coaching is anything like her playing, the Greeley Central Wildcats have a bright future ahead of them, according to Swank’s high school teammate Tiffany Robison. “She was a great leader and very supportive of everyone on the team,” said Robison, who along with Swank and Barb Riley made up a strong senior trio for the Demons 1993-94 squad. “You really couldn’t ask for a better teammate.”The playoff format was different when Swank played compared to now, when the top 32 teams in the state are selected to the Class 4A playoffs and battle each other in a NCAA Tournament-style bracket. When Swank played, only eight teams went to the state tournament, and you had to win your regional tournament to do so. The ’94 Demons were poised to make a run at the state title, but a loss to Steamboat Springs in the district tournament ended their season.
Despite the earlier-than-hoped-for finish, Vidakovich still remembers that team with pride – even more so when it comes to his star post.”Not only did she help us on the court, she’s just a great lady and was one of the three leaders we had on that team,” he said.After graduating from Glenwood, Swank attended the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. Swank studied exercise science and obtained her athletic trainer certification. She was then hired by Greeley Central High School not only as an athletic trainer, but as a science teacher as well. “I always liked science and it is a huge part of being a trainer,” Swank said.Swank has now been a teacher at Greeley Central for eight years and is an instructor of AP biology, cellular/organismal biology and athletic training. swank: 18
She also served as the athletic trainer for the Wildcats her first four years at GCHS. Then there was an assistant girls basketball coaching position open with the Wildcats and Swank couldn’t help but throw her hat in the ring. She joined the program and over the last four years has moved up and now the 2009-10 season will be the first of what she hopes to be many years of head coaching.”I love it,” Swank said of coaching. “I hope I will be doing it for a long time.”Though Swank’s family still lives in Glenwood and she admitted to returning to the area on occasion – especially for Strawberry Days – she said she is happy in Greeley. It was there where she meet her husband, a professor at UNC and Aimes College in Greeley, and together they have started a family. Swank’s love of basketball has already rubbed off on her 2-year-old daughter, Evelyn. Swank said Evelyn goes to a lot of practices and if her first word is any indication of her future – there’s surely going to be basketball in it.”She loves hanging out in the gym,” Swank said. “Her first word was ‘ball.'”
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This game. This rivalry. This season. It hasn’t meant this much in a long time.