CHSAA to honor former Demon hoops coach |

CHSAA to honor former Demon hoops coach

To those who followed Colorado prep basketball over the past four decades, Bob Chavez is already a legendary figure.

Those who don’t know of Chavez may want to do some research on how to run the ideal high school basketball program.

Chavez coached the Glenwood Springs Demons boys’ basketball team for 30 years and, in that time, turned Glenwood into a hoops haven.

At his retirement in 1989, Chavez held the Colorado record for wins with a mark of 477-161. The Demons also notched AA state titles in 1975, 1979 and 1984, during his tenure.

And on Jan. 25, Chavez, along with six other honorees, will be inducted in the Colorado High School Activities Association Hall of Fame.

“I was just hoping to keep my job for a couple of years,” said Chavez of his start at Glenwood. “I hit it lucky coming to Glenwood Springs.

“Basketball players make basketball players,” he added. “A coach can help, but I was lucky enough to get kids who would listen and work hard and work for a goal. The basketball players did it.”

While most good coaches have a deep well of energy, and often show it on the court, Chavez was unique in his ability to transfer the positive energy directly to his players.

“I’ve lasted because I’m high-strung,” Chavez was quoted as saying in a 1988 article in the Rocky Mountain News. “I’ve never gone to the practice floor mad. Everyone has moods, but that doesn’t mean you take them out on the kids. … A pat on the back has always been best.”

“He had so much energy and excitement you just fed off it – sometimes you laughed,” said Scott Bolitho, who played on the undefeated 1979 state championship team. “You always knew he was with you. It was like he was right on the court with you the whole time.”

Chavez’s influence extended well beyond the court. Along with turning Sayre Park into an offseason proving ground for future Demons, Chavez kept track of his players with a picture of each Demon to play for him framed on his office wall.

“He cared about us as people, not just players,” said Mike Vidakovich, also a member of the ’79 team, who now coaches basketball at Eagle Valley High School. “He treated us as if we were his own.”

In his first year as coach in 1959-60, the Demons advanced to the Class A state championship game before falling to Akron. In 1975 the Demons won their first state title in any sport as the Glenwood boys’ basketball team captured the Class AA title.

The 1979 team is considered by some to be one of the best teams in Colorado history. The team went undefeated and no opponent was able to finish closer than 18 points.

Chavez, already a member of the Colorado High School Coaches Hall of Fame, was the two-time Region 6 coach of the year and also coached the 1970 Colorado High School Boys Basketball All-Star Game.

“I really liked coaching high school,” Chavez said in a press release. “Working with the kids, well, I never had a day I didn’t want to go to school. I’m 70 years old and still like to think I could get back out there with them.”

And his son Rick, a member of the 1979 team, also believes his father could coach today, due to his knack for getting the most out of his players.

“He taught (players) they could do some things they didn’t think they could do,” Rick Chavez said.

“A lot of people say, `Oh yeah, your dad wouldn’t be able to coach in today’s environment because he worked the kids pretty hard,'” he continued. “I say, `You know, my dad coached for 30 years and never coached two teams the same way. I think he’d probably be a pretty good coach.'”

Prior to the CHSAA induction in January, Chavez, who lives in Mesa, Ariz., will be in Glenwood for a ceremony to rename the Glenwood High School gym. On Friday, Dec. 13, plans are in place to rename the gym after Chavez and fellow longtime Glenwood basketball coach Harlan Spencer.

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