Jack, Jacky return to sidelines
GSPI Sports Editor
Jack’s back. And so is Jacky.
A pair of familiar faces will be roaming courtside as girls head basketball coaches when November rolls around.
On Tuesday the Re-2 board approved the hiring of Jack Smith to coach the Rifle Bears girls basketball team, and former Roaring Fork coach Jacky Gaddis to fill the same position at the new Coal Ridge High School.
Smith spent the last 13 years as an assistant with Rifle under Rick Schmitz, now the athletic director at both Rifle and Coal Ridge.
“I told them I was a little long in the tooth and have a little snow on the roof, but there’s still a fire in the furnace,” Smith said.
Smith’s time as an assistant under Schmitz is only a snippet of his coaching experience. He was also the head coach of the Bears girls team from 1985-90 and spent time as the head coach of the Rifle boys hoops, football, baseball and track squads.
“I haven’t coached wrestling, and I haven’t coached any volleyball, but other than that …” Smith said.
Smith’s knowledge of the game, the area and the players on the team should be a huge asset for an already solid Bears team. Rifle finished last season 19-5 after advancing to the round of 16 at the Class 4A State Tournament.
“He knows the girls inside and out and has a great relationship with them,” said Schmitz, who recommended both Smith and Gaddis to the board. “I just think Jack is a top-notch coach and just a great guy to be around. The girls will enjoy playing for him.”
Gaddis returns to coaching after a one-season hiatus from the high school ranks. She spent three years at Roaring Fork and compiled a record of 54-17 while piloting the Class 3A Rams. The team advanced out of the district tournament all three years.
In the 2003-04 season Roaring Fork posted a 22-4 record and claimed district and regional titles.
Gaddis has also been active in coaching youth teams, which could be essential in building the Coal Ridge squad from scratch.
“Jacky has been successful, she’s experienced, knows the game, and she’s willing, I think, to put in the extra time and effort to build the program,” Schmitz said. “She starts with the younger kids and builds her system from a young age. She lays the groundwork, starts at the bottom and goes from there.”
Gaddis also likely will bring her uptempo style to Coal Ridge, a key to her success at Roaring Fork.
The official first day of high school practice for girls basketball is Nov. 15, with games starting Dec. 1.
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It was a close game, but after some thrilling back-and-forth plays the Rifle Bears were able to pull off the 28-20 victory over The Academy on May 1.