New athletic director faced with flood of schedule changes |

New athletic director faced with flood of schedule changes

Luke Graham

Ken Webbe, the new athletic director at Steamboat Springs High School, was busy Thursday morning answering the phone and questions in his office after a winter storm wreaked havoc with the day's sports schedule. Despite the storm and the challenges that came with it, Webbe - who was a science teacher and coach at Palisade before taking the job in Steamboat - says he's happy to be here and looking forward to working with coaches, students and the community.

— Sitting in his office early Thursday morning, new Steamboat Springs High School Athletic Director Ken Webbe looked right at home.

The former Palisade High School science teacher and coach fielded a myriad of calls, as just outside his window, snow blanketed Steamboat.

There were calls to coaches, calls to officials and calls to bus drivers.

It’s been a hectic three weeks for Webbe, who took over for Richard Lee on April 1. Since then, Webbe’s certainly found there is a little more to an athletic director job in Steamboat Springs.

“It was a shock just because the first weekend I had to reschedule all the games,” Webbe said. “Every AD across the state did because virtually all the games were canceled. I had to learn fast. You’re not just ordering baseballs and basketballs. It’s communication and coordination. That’s the job. The learning curve was so steep. That day it was, ‘Here it is and get it done.'”

But by all accounts, Webbe seems to have fit in about as well as anyone could expect. All those games were rescheduled with this week’s spring break in mind. Although Webbe admits he’s still learning on the job, he’s about as excited as it gets in his new position.

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Webbe’s always loved the area.

He fell in love with Steamboat Springs during his senior year of high school after a fishing trip to Steamboat Lake. He purchased a cabin in North Routt County and continued to frequent the area.

Webbe coached track for 22 years and was part of the coaching staff at Palisade under former Steamboat Springs graduate Joe Ramunno.

“Joe would say, ‘This is our home, this is our house and these are our kids,'” Webbe said. “That was a feeling that ran through the program. We get to coach. That’s an honor. I get to be the athletic director. It’s my passion because I dreamed about it all my life.”

Webbe attended the University of Northern Colorado where he studied anthropology. After he graduated, he spent a year managing restaurants before realizing he wanted to get into teaching.

“The thing I thought stood out – and like what I told some of the coaches that called – is the one thing Ken excelled at is his passion of just wanting to be at Steamboat Springs High School,” Palisade Athletic Director Mike Krueger said. “He has the connections there and at the high school. It had to have been unequaled by any other candidate.”

That’s the thing for Webbe. He considers this his dream job. He’s been eyeing the post at Steamboat for eight years.

While it has been a whirlwind first three weeks – spring break comes at a perfect time, he said – Webbe said the best thing during his first few weeks on the job has been how people around the school are more than happy to help him.

He said the helpfulness includes administrators, office staff and coaches from all the programs. So even as Webbe had to make decisions about whether to postpone games again on Thursday, he did so with a smile.

“It’s always been, for me, the AD job at Steamboat Springs High School,” he said. “I haven’t missed a Steamboat Springs-Palisade football game in 14 years. It was hard because part of me was rooting for Steamboat, but I had to be loyal to Palisade. Now I’m at Steamboat (and) I can be 100 percent loyal. I just want to do what’s best for kids. That’s what I’m about. I’m here to make sure parents, coaches and community focus on what’s best for kids.”