Schmitz returns to courtside
PEACH VALLEY – “Tomorrow’s success begins today.”So reads the top lines of the quilt hanging on the wall of Rick Schmitz’s office at Coal Ridge High School. He received the keepsake, with a team photo from each of the 12 years he served as head coach for the Rifle girls basketball team, two years ago after retiring from a distinguished coaching career.After two seasons watching games as the athletic director, Schmitz has decided to get back on the sideline where he will be the head coach for the Coal Ridge girls basketball team.”I missed it terribly. I found out that I missed all parts of it. Everything about it,” Schmitz said. “I just knew at some point, at some time, I wanted to do it again.”After playing under different head coaches in each of their two years of existence, the Titans are looking to build a strong foundation. With Schmitz stepping in, tomorrow’s success may just begin today.Schmitz wasted no time in jumping into his new role. He will start today by holding the first open gym session of the offseason.”It’s kind of refreshing to start over and really just start at the beginning and try to establish things and see what kind of a team and what kind of a program we here at Coal Ridge can put together,” Schmitz said.
Schmitz will continue his duties as athletic director at Coal Ridge and will also take on the dean of students position beginning in the fall. He will no longer be the athletic director for Rifle, however, which leaves positions for a Rifle AD and a head girls basketball coach open. Instead of going back to Rifle, Schmitz is looking forward to coaching at a new school.”I thought it would be better to start at a different school and go forward. Rifle – that will be a good job for somebody because they’ve got a good group of girls coming back and a good group coming up of younger players,” Schmitz said of the spot vacated by Brad Skinner. “Sometimes you look for new challenges and see what you can do.”Schmitz has coached for 27 years in all, splitting time between Rifle, one year at Highlands Ranch and the rest in Iowa. In 12 years at the helm of Rifle’s program, Schmitz led the Bears to four Western Slope League Championships and seven WSL runner-up titles. He was also named the WSL Coach of the Year three times in the span.
When Coal Ridge opened with only freshmen and sophomores in 2005, Jacky Gaddis, a former player and coach at Roaring Fork, started with the team as head coach. Gaddis retired and Tiffany Robison coached the Titans in the 06-07 season, when Coal Ridge bumped up from Class 2A to 3A, still without seniors.Now Schmitz will be in charge, with the inaugural Coal Ridge senior class ready to make a stand.”I would like to build on what coach Gaddis and coach Robison started here and see if we can go forward with it,” he said.In addition to open gyms, Schmitz is also planning on having the interested Titans play in summer tournaments and at camps, all with the same motto in mind – tomorrow’s success begins today.
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Rifle High School wrestling won its matchup with Glenwood Springs Tuesday at the Glenwood triangular, while the Palisade Bulldogs took down both local teams.