Key to Huskies football’s future is not a coach
December 10, 2016
It's time for a good look in the mirror, Battle Mountain football.
With the departure of coach Cliff Lohrey, Battle Mountain is looking for its 10th football coach in 20 years and change.
First, let's establish some parameters. This was Lohrey's decision. There was no push from the administration or parents. Battle Mountain wanted him back.
Lohrey was also a good coach. While the record of 7-12 doesn't show it, the guy did just about everything humanly possible to keep his team in games, often when overmatched by the opposition.
There have been good football coaches at Battle Mountain — Pat Engle, David Joyce, Kevin Meyer and Lohrey. By the way, Joyce ain't coming back, so let's squash that immediately.
The fact that the school has been able to attract good coaches for most of more than the last decade says something. It is not about the coach. Huskies football is struggling because of a lack of hard work and commitment by the student-athletes and the surrounding community.
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Control and variable
Yes, we have chronicled many times that the athletic culture is different at Battle Mountain than at other schools in Colorado. This is a ski resort and Huskies male athletes ski, snowboard and play hockey, and aren't on the traditional football-basketball/wresting-baseball track.
Yes, there's a darn good soccer program at Battle Mountain that affects football in the fall. Neither the school nor soccer coach David Cope should make any apologies for that.
It's worth noting that in 2011, the lone year of light for football, the team that made the playoffs, the soccer team won the 4A Slope, made the state quarterfinals and was year away from taking home the big trophy. Battle Mountain isn't a small 500-student school anymore, like it was when I got here. There are athletes aplenty.
The clue to the problem is why did football's last two coaches walk away? Kevin Meyer (2014), of course, talked about how he wanted to move closer to his family in Nebraska and so on. While everybody loves family, there was also the fact that Battle Mountain didn't have weight-room program going.
Lohrey arrived, got a weight room going, but nobody showed up. Let's be clear — he didn't say that. But if you spend as much time as I do at Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley, there is a simple fact. The weight room is busy in Gypsum and a ghost town in Edwards.
A coach cannot build any form of football team without weight work, much less have a chance in heck of competing in the 3A Slope.
Time to get to work
What is required is a commitment by the student-athlete when it comes to football. If you're not playing basketball, wrestling, playing hockey or skiing in the winter, then you need to be in the weight room. In the spring, by all means, play baseball, lacrosse or do track. If not, then your rear end better be in the weight room, and even if you are competing in another sport, you can squeeze in weight session or two. A coach can urge, prod and cajole, but that's on you.
Sure, skiing and lacrosse have good numbers at Battle Mountain, but not enough for five Huskies in the weight room to be a busy night.
This is about making decisions and juggling responsibilities, guys. Yes, it's hard, but so is life, which is for what school and sports are preparing you.
And speaking of decisions, make good ones. While not unique to football or the general state of teen-ager-dom, a small few have made some profoundly dumb ones during the last few years. I'm not naming names, but you know what I'm talking about. A coach is obviously a teacher and a mentor, but not a babysitter.
And, parents, if your kid is going out for football, perhaps it's not a good idea to schedule a family vacation during the fall. Seriously, what are you thinking?
Yes, Battle Mountain football is looking for new coach. But he's not going to be the Messiah. The responsibility is on the players and community.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.
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