Ketchum steps down as Aspen boys coach |

Ketchum steps down as Aspen boys coach

Former Aspen High School boys basketball coach Steve Ketchum will return to the sidelines next season as the head coach at Ponderosa High School in Parker, a Class 4A school in the elite Class 5A/4A Continental League.
Leah Moriarty / Special to The Aspen Times |

ASPEN — The sidelines in high school gyms across Colorado — from Aspen to Craig, to Brush and beyond — will not be the same.

Aspen High School head coach Steve Ketchum, the longest-serving boys basketball coach in the region, is stepping away from the bench.

Oh, he’s not stepping away from basketball, or Aspen. He’s instead turning his full attention to his family team — the Ketchums.

“I spent 31 years of my life pouring myself into other people’s kids, particularly at the high school level,” Ketchum said Friday as he announced his resignation after 16 years as the Aspen boys head coach. “This has been a passion of mine. I’ve been able to help them realize their goals and dreams.”

Now, he said, it’s time to shift gears and focus on his growing family.

“My own children need me more right now,” said Ketchum. “I can tell. They need me. This is now my most important team.”

Ketchum, 55, and his wife Mardi have five adopted sons, from eighth grade to third grade.

CJ is an eighth-grader; King and Cory are in seventh grade; Rocky is a fourth-grader; and Dre is a third-grader.

“My wife has had to do it all,” Ketchum said of his wife Mardi. They two also have two grown children from Mardi’s previous marriage.

He said that during basketball season, including long trips all across Colorado, his wife has had to manage the five sons at home — and all of their activities.

“I can help by being there with them,” Ketchum said. “After careful consideration, it’s a perfect time for me to move on to focus on my family.”

He said he’s enjoyed his 16 years coaching in Aspen.

“I am extremely grateful for the last 16 wonderful years. We’ve had tremendous success,” he said. “I’ve loved coaching here through the years.”

Mardi Ketchum, too, shared in the Aspen High School basketball experience with her husband.

“I am just so proud of Steve and all the he has accomplished while coaching in Aspen,” Mardi Ketchum said.

The two met during his first year coaching here.

“I had two sons that played for him, and we started dating two years later,” Mardi said. “We got married 11 years ago and started adopting kids.“

She said the Ketchums and their own “Fab Five” are looking forward to more basketball in the family future — including the international basketball adventures the Ketchums offer through the Aspen Basketball Camps and the Aspen Basketball Academy.

Steve Ketchum, who will continue to teach at Aspen High School, will continue the Aspen Basketball Camp adventures.

Ketchum’s Aspen High School boys teams won nearly 300 games during his 16-year run. He was 282-108 at AHS. Ketchum is 172-40 in Western Slope League games over those same 16 seasons. His Aspen teams were 41-4 in the conference over the last three years, including this year’s team that went 19-5 and reached the regional finals — the 16th consecutive year the Skiers advanced to the regional playoffs. The Skiers beat Florence in the regional semifinals and lost — at Brush — in the regional title game this year.

Twelve times, the Skiers reached the regional championship game, including the last seven years in a row. Five times, Ketchum coached the Skiers into the elite eight of Class 3A basketball. Twice they reached the final four. During Ketchum’s time in Aspen, 15 players from the program went on to play college basketball.

“I poured my heart and soul into this,” Ketchum said. “But now I want to focus my energies on my family and being the best teacher I can.”

And, he said, he’ll consider high school coaching again in the future.

“I want to leave the door open (to return to coaching),” Ketchum said. “Who knows? A few years down the road, I might be ready to get back into high school coaching.”

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