Cowan will be GVHS interim boys basketball coach |

Cowan will be GVHS interim boys basketball coach

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

PARACHUTE, Colorado ” With Scott Kiburis’ departure to Elizabeth creating a vacancy atop the Grand Valley boys basketball program, Mark Cowan offered himself up as a one-year stopgap.

“I’m a one-year transition guy,” said Cowan, the Cardinals’ new boys hoops coach. “I offered to come do this for a year.”

And Cowan, whose son, Colton, plays on the team, is a mighty serviceable stopgap.

A former art teacher at Grand Valley High School, he assisted longtime Cardinals’ boys coach Phil Hemann from 1992 to 2000. Seven of the eight teams Cowan helped coach made the state tournament.

Having former Roaring Fork boys basketball coach Roger Walters as his business partner in recent years, Cowan never strayed far from the coaching circles.

“Having a partner that’s been coaching all the time, I never really got out,” said Cowan, who along with Walters runs Parachute-based Face-N-Space Silk Screening. “We talked every single day about basketball.”

Cowan even talked Walters, who resigned as Roaring Fork’s coach after the 2007-08 season, into helping him coach in a volunteer capacity.

“He has no choice,” Cowan joked.

“Mark’s going to do an awesome job,” Walters said. “He’s got a great background. He’s been out of coaching for a while, but he’s not your normal coach. He’s going to do awesome. He’s helped me out with my kids the last five years, for sure.”

Cowan is taking over a team that’s been to the state tournament in Pueblo in each of the last three seasons and won the 2006-07 state title. The Cardinals were 21-5 in 2007-08.

Though he hasn’t coached in a while, Cowan’s had the privilege of learning from some of the Western Slope’s best coaching talent.

“I’ve had some great mentors,” he said. “Phil Hemann was a coach here for 30 years. He’s my mentor. I’ve gotten to watch Scott run his system for almost 10 years. I’d call him a mentor. And Roger is my mentor. I’ve got to watch a lot of different styles and I’ve taken from every single one. I can’t wait to combine all those different things into one.”

Grand Valley athletic director Jeff Bradley, who’s leaving his post to take over the AD job at Grand Junction Central, feels he’s leaving the boys basketball program in good hands.

“Mark’s a very structured, discipline type coach,” he said. “It’s good to have those guys with a wealth of knowledge. We’re just happy to have them here. Hopefully they can get the coaches behind them trained.”

A chief aim of Cowan’s year will be to groom an assistant coaching staff that includes former Cardinal basketball standout Jake Higuera, who graduated in 2000.

“He’s a great player, a great kid,” Cowan said of his former player. “We’ll try to groom him, and there could be another person in there, too, just so he doesn’t have to be thrown to the wolves.”

Until he passes on the torch, though, Cowan plans on enjoying his time as the program’s maestro.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with the kids again. I’ve done some things with Scott, working with him a little, but haven’t ever totally gotten back into it.”

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