Spate of coaching changes has our heads spinning
It seems like every other day we here in the Post Independent sports department find ourselves penning stories on a local coach resigning his/her post or on the hiring of a coach.I realize, with the enormous cost of living here in Garfield County, that that’s par for the course. Folks spend a year or two here and realize they just can’t make it in the valley long-term, particularly on a teacher’s salary.And the coaches who aren’t teachers typically have full-time jobs that coaching robs time from.But, seriously, who’d have thought we’d see this much turnover in the area?The numbers are staggering.Glenwood Springs, Roaring Fork, Rifle, Coal Ridge and Grand Valley high schools serve as the base of our prep coverage area, and three of those five schools have lost head football coaches this school year.We have also seen four basketball (boys or girls) posts go vacant – some filled and others not – and two soccer positions open up.I won’t speculate much on what’s going on – the reasons vary case by case – but the trend is surely alarming. What I do know is we’re losing quality coaches, and that’s never a good thing. Nowhere I’ve worked have I seen such insane turnover. I called RFHS athletic director Larry Black on Friday to talk about Larry Williams landing the school’s boys basketball job, only to find out that girls coach Kirk Cheney was surrendering his post.It’s tough to keep up with all the coaching comings and goings and cover all the spring sports on our plate as well. Keeping up with the forever-turning rumor mill – which is how we unearth the roots of most of this stuff – isn’t easy. Imagine, though, being a kid who goes through three coaches in as many years. It wasn’t all that long ago when coaching fixtures like Don Miller (Glenwood football), Sonny Darien (Roaring Fork basketball) or Bob Chavez (Glenwood basketball) graced our sports scene.They all stuck around their positions for at or around a quarter-century. Today, a coach sticks around here five years and it seems like an eternity.It takes someone incredibly dedicated to stay the course and deal with the day-to-day madness that surrounds the coaching profession. From the regular seasons to the summer camps and leagues, there isn’t much time for rest. You really have to love kids and your chosen sport to make it work long-term.For what amounts to an avocation, no less.I don’t think I could do it.So I salute those who do give it a whirl. And I hope area parents whose kids have a good coach appreciate just how much that man/woman is doing to keep their team running.Contact Jeff Caspersen: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Area prep basketball teams begin their 2019-20 campaigns with tournament action both home and away this weekend.