EDWARDS - We start Vail Christian's Homecoming festivities with a King, literally. Mike King is no stranger to the local high school scene, having served as a teacher, coach and athletic director at various times during a long tenure at Battle Mountain. Having moved to Vail Christian, King is helping build Saints athletics as the school settles into a new campus this year. He's got an eye on building a new gym and increasing student participation in sports as the school grows in the next few years, while still cheering on the Saints in their current endeavors. For more on King and some funny moments from life at Battle Mountain, read on:Date of birth: Oct. 23, 1950.Born in: Denver.Wife: Kathy.Children: Melissa, 35, and Nathan, 29.Brother: Mark, 52.What's it like being the athletic director?: "It's a good job because of all of the help and support we get around here. The parents are incredible. Our kids are great. You can sit here and push papers all day long, and you're not doing what an athletic director become an athletic director for, which is to hang out with the coaches and the kids."
What's it like working with the coaches and athletes?: "I relish that. I look forward to that. To me, that's the group of people who are going to make our athletic department what it's going to be. What I try to do is get them what they need and then get out of the way. Every coach we have here is a quality coach and they're really good at working with kids."What are the goals for the athletic department?: "We've been working on that, and we've kind of narrowed it down. We want our kids to have good character. We just see athletics as another classroom. We're concentrating on producing good players, good teamwork and good people. All that comes under what we call 'Coaching for character.' ... The wins and losses come after that."How much fun is it when you get a team that has success?: "I love going to away games, because at home games, I'm usually doing stuff. I love going to away games and just cheering. To watch the kids be successful is absolutely incredible, the smiles on their faces and to be a part of the locker room after. That's what keeps coaches and teachers and A.D.'s going. High school sports is the purest form of spot. It's cool to see the emotional ups and downs the kids go through, particularly the ups. You've got to have the downs to build that character."How excited are you for Homecoming?: "I haven't forgotten what it's like to be a coach during Homecoming week. Homecoming is a distraction, but it's obviously a part of high school sports. It's fun to see the kids out of the normal routine and have some fun during the day. It's hard to keep the athletes focused on what they need to do during the week. It's a challenge, but I enjoy it."Best moments coaching?: "I remember the state (2A football championship) game (Battle Mountain) played in 1985 (in Roaring Fork.) That was fun. I also remember coaching with Pat Phelan, coaching some state wrestlers. Being in that arena on that mat during the championships, and having your kid come off and win, that was pretty amazing. There are some little things. Last year, I went down and watched our cross-country runners run with Battle Mountain, just the camaraderie there and the support they gave each other was really cool. And watching our programs grow and become better, it has been really fulfilling and fun."Favorite coaching role models?: "Right off the bat, the two that come to mind are Pat Phelan and Bob Isbell. I've coached with those guys, and you can't find two better high school coaches. Obviously, you need to know something about the sport to be successful, but more importantly, you need to know how to relate to kids. Those two have the ability to relate to kids incredibly well. And I've been around (Battle Mountain soccer coach) Dave Cope, and he's in that caliber."What are the goals for the athletic department with regard to facilities and possible new teams?: "Obviously the first goal is to get our own gym going, so we can play volleyball and basketball in our own gym. At the same time, we'll be able to build a P.E. program and weightlifting and strength-conditioning programs with that facility. As we grow, we will be careful in choosing what sports we add because eventually what we'd like to do is say that when you come to Vail Christian High School, you will participate in one CHSAA-certified sport sometime in your four years here."Funniest moments?: "I think the funniest moment was when we were down in Gunnison in a (football) playoff game. (Coach) John McCarthy and I, we had to stop (coaches) Pat Phelan and Steve Moran from getting into a fight with each other on the sideline. Another one was we were playing a J.V. game on a Saturday morning, and we were up 8-0, and Phelan was up in the press box. All he was doing was watching. There's two minutes left in the game and he's up there, yelling at the top of his lungs, 'Pass the ball. Pass the ball.' He couldn't see the scoreboard because the sun was in his face, and we didn't want to pass the ball because we were up. Everyone was saying, 'What's wrong with that guy. I thought he knew what he was doing.' It was absolutely hysterical."College?: Colorado - "I hesitate to admit that."
Majors?: Biology and education - longtime science teacher at Battle Mountain and Vail Christian.Favorite sports teams?: Broncos, CU - "I'll support CU when my son-in-law is in the room, particularly because he's a big Nebraska fan. I love Vail Christian sports, too. I'm a real high school sports guy."Favorite athletes?: John Elway and Ed McCaffrey - "You know what? I enjoyed Rachel Glandorf run. I enjoyed Chris Isbell run. Those two on a high school level stand out."Favorite TV shows?: "Friends" and "America's Funniest Home Videos."Favorite movie?: "Never Cry Wolf."Favorite book?: "Desert Solitaire" by Edward Abbey.Favorite color?: Turquoise - "The color of Caribbean water."Hobbies?: "I love going out in the backcountry. I spend a lot of time in the backcountry during the summer. During the winter, I'll go into the backcountry skiing. Recently, my wife and I bought a sit-on-top kayak, so we've spent a lot of time on the water and taken it up to Alaska. That was fun. I do a little SCUBA diving."Mac or PC?: Mac.
Favorite Web site?: Highschoolsports.com.Favorite food?: "I like a good steak. Run with it through a warm room for me."Favorite pizza slice?: Sausage, pepperoni, black olives and mushrooms.If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?: Ponderosa pine.If you were ruler of the world for one day, what would you do?: "I would have people stop what they were doing and have people appreciate each other and appreciate the natural environment that they live in. One of the gifts we have up here - and I've got to believe it's the same everywhere if you take the time - is that natural beauty and the gifts that we are given, we don't take enough time to appreciate it." Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.Vail, Colorado