Coal Ridge baseball coach calls it quits |

Coal Ridge baseball coach calls it quits

Joelle Milholm
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kelley Cox

PEACH VALLEY, Colorado ” It seemed impossible to take a team that had never won a game and not only get it tallies in the victory column, but to get enough of them to qualify for the postseason.

In his first year as head coach, Coal Ridge baseball frontman Luke LaBaw did just that “helping the Titans to a 6-13 season to place fifth in the Class 3A Western Slope League. The finish was good enough to send Coal Ridge to regionals, where the Titans’ magical season was ended by No. 1 seed Faith Christian.

It was the best year for the three-year-old team, one that involved highlights such as the first home runs, first no-hitter, first 10-run rule game, first shutout and first WSL win in the history of the program.

That’s where the story ends for LaBaw, however, as he recently turned in his resignation to the Re-2 School District. The 28-year-old Rifle graduate not only called it quits as the head baseball coach, but as a history teacher as well. The high cost of living in the area and a desire to further his own education.

“I appreciate the people I work with, for sure, and it’s been a great ride. I just want to go back to school,” LaBaw said. “The kids were great. I just needed to go a different way.”

LaBaw, who spoke at Coal Ridge’s first-ever graduation ceremony earlier this month, isn’t exactly sure where he is going to go to school or have a detailed plan for his future, but is looking forward to the unknown.

“I don’t know what I am going to do and it feels good. It’s been a long time since I did not have a plan,” he said. “I will definitely be coaching somewhere.”

LaBaw, who taught at Coal Ridge for two years and was an assistant in the 2007 season under Scott Schilt, is hoping to eventually coach at the collegiate level. He’s hoping to secure a position as a teacher’s assistant and also find some sort of coaching job.

As far as the Titans go, LaBaw is hoping one day the team will have its own diamond at the high school. For two years, they played at Riverside Junior High School ” where the diamond isn’t in the best condition and there is no outfield fence. Then last year, Coal Ridge played all its home games at Copper Field in Rifle.

“I hope that baseball gets a little more support from the district,” LaBaw said.

On Thursday morning, Coal Ridge athletic director Rick Schmitz confirmed the baseball head coaching position is open and the Titans are looking for candidates to replace LaBaw.

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