Hawkins’ tour of Colorado a brilliant idea | PostIndependent.com

Hawkins’ tour of Colorado a brilliant idea

Casper's Corner
Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Jeff Caspersen

For the kids in the crowd at last Wednesday’s Hawk Talk stop in Glenwood Springs, it must have been somewhat surreal seeing University of Colorado head football coach Dan Hawkins hanging out in their own Sayre Park.

As part of a spring tour aimed to augment CU’s presence statewide by meeting with fans, Hawkins and school officials chose Glenwood Springs right along with places like Steamboat Springs, Pueblo, Fort Morgan, Iliff, Sterling, Berthoud and Denver.

Most aren’t exactly what you’d call metro areas, but the town-by-town, grassroots approach certainly proved effective in Glenwood.

The kids ate it up.

There was the contingent of Glenwood Springs High School students who trickled down the street to talk sports with a real, live Division I football coach ” doing so on their lunch break, no less.

There were kids from other Garfield County secondary schools; by my eye, Roaring Fork and Coal Ridge high schools were represented.

There was a class of elementary schoolers from neighboring St. Stephen’s Catholic School.

And there were plenty of adults ” some alumni, others just wanting a chance to gab with a big-name sports figure.

Regardless of their age, all seemed a little taken aback.

After all, you typically have to hop in your car and zoom up Highway 82 to spot a celebrity in these parts.

“Not all athletes get to talk to a Division I coach very often,” said Evan Wagstrom, a multi-sport athlete at Coal Ridge High School who made the trip to Glenwood to chat with Hawkins.

“I just want to talk to him, say hi,” said Glenwood Springs High School athlete Dakota Stonehouse, who’s grown up loving Notre Dame but appreciated the chance to talk to someone of Hawkins’ stature.

Growing up in a small town myself, I can’t imagine what it would have been like for someone like Bill Walsh (he was coaching at Stanford by the time my teenage years struck) made the trip from Palo Alto to my little city of Healdsburg, Calif., just to chat with fans.

I would have been there in less than a heartbeat.

Hawkins’ tour is a brilliant concept that no doubt won the charismatic Hawkins more than a few new fans along the way.

With NCAA recruiting rules prohibiting the coach from making off-campus visits in the spring this year, Hawkins called the tour a no-brainer.

“Me being the hyperactive workaholic I am,” he explained, “I thought what am I going to do? I don’t golf. What am I going to do? Just sit around?”

Hopefully other schools follow Hawkins’ lead.

Contact Jeff Caspersen: 384-9123


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