Glenwood high school basketball coach resigns
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A major sales pitch was needed for a school to lure Cory Hitchcock away from Glenwood Springs High School. Missouri Valley College provided that sales pitch.
Hitchcock announced his resignation to Glenwood Athletic Director Craig Denney and the boys basketball team on Monday, closing out a the 36-year-old’s five-year tenure as the Demons’ head boys basketball coach. He’ll leave the school to become the assistant women’s basketball coach at Missouri Valley College, an NAIA Division I school in Marshall, Missouri.
“I really had planned to stay here for a long time,” Hitchcock said. “And to tell you the truth, I hadn’t even thought about coaching in college because I’d already coached in college. But this was something that was not only best for me, but for my family.”
Hitchcock, who came to Glenwood after a stint as an assistant basketball coach at then-NCAA Division II Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, was approached about the opening by Missouri Valley head women’s hoops coach Tim Dixon, who was at Grand Canyon when Hitchcock was.
Hitchcock initially turned down Dixon’s job offer but, when Dixon later called back and said a master’s degree would be thrown in with the job offer, Hitchcock reconsidered.
“A master’s degree in this day and age looks really good,” Hitchcock said.
The team that Hitchcock will help coach next year finished this past season with a 13-15 record, falling in the quarterfinal round of the eight-team Heart of America Athletic Conference tournament to Culver-Stockton (Missouri) College. The team did have an NAIA All-American honorable mention in senior-to-be Kienna Wharton, who averaged 12.9 points and 7.8 rebounds in 2014-15.
Hitchcock left Glenwood following a five-year tenure with an overall record of 70-50, which included a pair of Class 4A Western Slope League championships (2011 and 2015). Glenwood went to the Class 4A state playoffs each season with Hitchcock at the helm, including the 2012-13 season when the Demons finished the season 7-17 but finished in the top seven of the 4A Western Slope District Tournament. In the past two seasons — including Glenwood’s 14-0 record in the 4A WSL this past year — the Demons posted a league record of 24-4.
“I’m pretty happy with what we were able to accomplish in the time I’ve been here,” the coach said.
His passion for his players while on the Demons’ sidelines was evident. He wouldn’t hesitate to cheer on players after dunks or exceptional plays, but he also wouldn’t hesitate to take the blame when he didn’t feel his players were playing up to their capabilities.
“He’s a great leader, and that’s one of the things I’ll take from him,” said senior-to-be Mason Yellico, who along with third-team all-state guard Cameron Horning will be the Demons’ team captains next season. “There’s also little things we’ll take, like never taking a play off. There were so many games where all of us just fed off of his energy.
“Obviously, we were surprised,” Yellico continued. “We know that he loves coaching and he’s really good at it, and he’s got to do what’s best for his family. Still, the selfish part of me wants him to stay.”
Hitchcock, who has a wife of eight years, Pam, and a 3-year-old boy, Kellen, took the time to tell his players on Monday at a team meeting at the high school.
“There were a lot of tears and a lot of sad goodbyes,” Hitchcock said. “I didn’t realize how much of an impact I made until I received all of those text messages from the kids in the past couple of days. It’s just been such an honor to be here.”
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