Veteran coaches turn in whistles |

Veteran coaches turn in whistles

Submitted PhotoJoe Mollica, pictured at a meet last season, has resigned as Glenwood Springs High School head cross country coach after guiding the program for 11 years.

Two longtime Glenwood Springs High School coaches have decided to blaze new paths in their lives.After building a previously unrecognized cross country team to a premier program on the Western Slope, head coach Joe Mollica is stepping down. Likewise, Deb Henderson, who was recently named as the 2005-06 4A Western Slope League girls basketball coach of the year, has turned in her resignation.Both positions have yet to be filled.Mollica resumed full-time coaching duties this year after sitting out most of the 2004 cross country season due to medical problems, followed by successful surgery and recuperation.In 2005, the Glenwood girls qualified for the Class 4A team state championship. In Colorado Springs, the Demons finished 13th overall and had one runner – Katrina Selsor – clock the 16th-best individual time.Quite a change from the five runners Mollica inherited after becoming coach 11 years ago. Since then, he’s watched the program blossom to having close to 30 athletes annually.Over that span, Mollica’s coaching has produced a number of standouts, who’ve gone on to run in colleges across the United States. A partial list of former Demons who’ve had success at the next level include Chas and Marco Salmen, now at Duke University; Sarah Shepard, who runs for the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs; and Lacey Darien and Megan McKinney, who both competed at the University of Northern Colorado.In his decade-plus as head coach, Mollica has sent five teams to the state meet and earned the 2001 boys West Region team championship.What Mollica enjoyed the most about coaching was the day-to-day interaction among the athletes and their families. “The single most important aspect of my coaching tenure was the bond that I developed with (the) athletes and getting to know so many fine families,” he said in his resignation letter to the Re-1 school district.Mollica plans to use time he formally used coaching to spend time with his family and children.

Henderson, who fashioned the best won-loss record this past season in her four years as girls head basketball coach, is moving away from the area.Taking the Glenwood job after a three-year stint at nearby Eagle Valley High School, Henderson stabilized a slipping program that achieved postseason success in the mid-1990s.Building slowly, Glenwood’s record improved yearly under Henderson’s watch. After going 9-12 in 2002-03, the Demons finished each of the last three seasons with 11 or more wins, including back-to-back third-round state playoff appearances in 2004-05 and 2005-06.In four seasons, Henderson compiled a 40-43 overall mark and went 31-21 in league play. This past year, Glenwood went 15-8 and earned second place in the WSL standings with a 12-2 record.At the 2005-06 state playoffs, the Demons began the postseason with a 61-53 win over Longmont after earning a first-round bye. The victory advanced Glenwood to a third-round contest against Colorado Springs Harrison, where they fell 61-43.

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