Steamboat’s Ramunno family keeps coaching tradition alive |

Steamboat’s Ramunno family keeps coaching tradition alive

Jeff Caspersen/Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Lewis-Palmer head football coach Tony Ramunno

Lewis-Palmer head football coach Tony Ramunno, the son of legendary Steamboat Springs wrestling coach and assistant football coach Carl Ramunno, celebrates a homecoming victory with his team earlier this season. Ramunno’s sons have followed in his footsteps, with each at the helm of a high school or college football program.

The Ramunno brothers didn’t emerge from the womb with a clipboard and whistle in hand, but they may as well have.

Coaching is what the Ramunno brothers do. It’s what their dad, legendary Steamboat Springs head wrestling and assistant football coach Carl Ramunno, did. Coaching is what makes the Ramunnos tick.

John, the oldest of the three, is the head football coach at Eagle Valley High School. Tony, the middle brother, is in charge of the football program at Lewis-Palmer. Joe, the baby brother, is the frontman at Mesa State College.

As youngsters growing up in Steamboat Springs, football seized center stage in the Ramunnos’ life. Once their playing careers wound down — all three played college ball and Joe even enjoyed a brief stint in the National Football League with the Chicago Bears — each of them turned to coaching.

“That’s what we do,” Tony said. “We saw it growing up, went off and had the chance to play college football and it looked attractive. It looked fun to be a coach.”

And that’s all they’ve done since.

Even the two Ramunno sisters have ties to coaching.

“Their husbands (coach),” John said. “You can’t be in our family unless you have something to do with football.”

It certainly makes for some interesting family gatherings.

“One time, we all met up for Thanksgiving and everybody brought game film,” John recalled. “We went downstairs and were all watching.”

The rest of the family quickly put the kibosh on the film sessions.

“That’s the last time it happened,” John said. “It wasn’t good for any of us. We spent too much time, but it’s a great learning thing when we all do get together.”

Phone calls now stand in for the family film sessions. Lewis-Palmer, in the playoffs for the first time since 2002, lost, 42-21, to Glenwood Springs in the 3A state quarterfinals Saturday.

Tony, in family fashion, sought his brother’s advice about how to deal with the Demons.

“John talked to me on the telephone,” Tony said prior to Saturday’s game. “He said, ‘You better look out.’”

“Well, I don’t know if I gave him much advice,” John said. “We didn’t have a very good game against Glenwood.”

John missed Saturday’s game. He drew an elk tag and promised his son a hunting trip in Steamboat.

“Tony was supposed to go with us,” John said, “but I’m so happy he’s in the playoffs. I know he is, too.”

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