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Help wanted as Steamboat Sailors’ search for new football assistants begins

Steamboat Pilot & Today
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— Dramatic changes to the Steamboat Springs High School and Middle School football programs entered a new phase Tuesday when high school athletic director Luke DeWolfe posted the openings for seven paid coaching positions.

“We are starting from scratch, and every position will be open,” DeWolfe said.

Last week, Shawn Baumgartner was hired as the Sailors new high school football coach, and the process to realign the program from top to bottom shifted into high gear.

Community members, as well as coaches who have worked inside the high school and middle school programs in the past, are being asked to re-apply for jobs if they have any interest in coaching the team during the 2017-18 season. The application can be found at steamboatschools.net/departments-daadfe86/human-resources-1d419f06 under current job openings.

In addition to paid positions, the school is also looking for volunteers to help fill out the staff.

The idea to realign the program was set into motion earlier this spring when Lonn Clementson, who had coached the team for seven years, stepped down.

“The biggest thing is that this is now one program from seventh through 12th grade,” DeWolfe said. “The players will be taught the same basics, they will learn the same system and they will share common terms.”

He said the actual structure of the middle school program — which has had a head coach for both the seventh grade and eighth grade teams — has not yet been determined.

“The opportunity within this process is to recreate a system that fits the need of our programs,” DeWolfe said. “We will define those positions as we go through this process, and we will look at the people we hire and figure out where their skill set is going to be most beneficial, where they will be most comfortable and how they can influence the program in its totality.”

He said the school has posted the positions for four middle school and three high school coaches. He is hoping to create a solid candidate base and review those applications by April 17 and start the interview process after spring break.

“We don’t want to rush through this process,” DeWolfe said. “Our concern right now is getting the right people in the right places, and making sure that the people we put in those positions are the right fit.”

The motivation for change, according to DeWolfe, is to bring new players to the game, keep the middle school players who are moving to the high school program and ensure the future of football in Steamboat.

Last year there were only 35 athletes in the high school football program, and the team has struggled to get enough players to maintain a successful junior varsity program for several years.

Steamboat is not the only program struggling to increase the numbers of players competing in high school football programs, and a rule change that limited the amount of quarters a student-athlete can play in any given week has impacted junior varsity programs across the state. Before the rule change some players were competing in both varsity and junior varsity games in order to fill rosters.

DeWolfe said that concussions, and parents concerns about concussions, have also impacted football programs. He said it’s difficult to measure the impact because some players leave the game long before getting to middle school or high school or chose other sports because there is a perception they are safer.

The Steamboat football program has been proactive when it comes concussions, and DeWolfe expects the new coaches to continue to stress player safety in practice and in games.

“We want to develop a program that progresses young athletes safely and logically through our program — one that allows the athletes to be successful, and a program that is sustainable,” he said.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966


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