Vail’s Red Sandstone Elementary honors Foley brothers by naming its gym Foley Fieldhouse |

Vail’s Red Sandstone Elementary honors Foley brothers by naming its gym Foley Fieldhouse

Dennis and Kevin Foley have run the basketball program at the school for almost three decades

The Red Sandstone Elementary School gym is now Foley Fieldhouse, named for Dennis and Kevin Foley's 28 years running a youth basketball program at the school, and helping with so much else around the community.
Randy Wyrick |

VAIL — Kevin and Dennis Foley may be the Vail Valley’s most experienced gym rats, so it’s proper that their favorite gym bears the family name.

Red Sandstone Elementary School’s gym is now Foley Fieldhouse. Principal Marcie Laidman and staffer Quincy McAdam unveiled the new name Friday with an impromptu celebration to honor the Foley brothers for 28 years running Red Sandstone’s youth basketball program.

“It’s been a labor of love,” Kevin said.

 “It’s been a great ride. We love it,” Dennis said.

‘Give yourself a hug’

The Foleys might have shown up Friday if they knew they were going to be honored, or they might not. McAdam wasn’t taking chances. She called the brothers to Red Sandstone at 2:15 p.m. Friday for what she said was a “basketball meeting.” She knew they’d be there for anything hoop- or kid-related.

The brothers show up to help around the school. Sometimes it’s basketball. Sometimes it’s just to push kids on swings.

Kevin was positively resplendent Friday in his bright red Red Sandstone Elementary School T-shirt, emblazoned with RSES: Respect Success Excel Solve.

“Give yourself a big hug when you walk in here. You’re lucky to be part of the best school in the world,” Kevin told dozens of Red Sandstone students and staffers.

In the teacher’s lounge afterward, Kevin cut the basketball-court shaped cake from the three-point line.

Treat to McQueeney to Foley

Nearly three decades ago, Tom Treat, who ran the youth program at the school Vail elementary school, convinced Dennis Foley to help out. Dennis didn’t take much convincing. Neither did Kevin when Dennis went to work on him to help the following year. Henry McQueeney took over from Treat. Then Dennis took over from McQueeney when McQueeney was assigned to a school downvalley. The program has been in the hands of the Foleys ever since.

The season runs January through March. Kids learn the stuff they’re supposed to learn from youth sports: sportsmanship, teamwork, a little discipline, how to prepare for success, how to contend with failure, some physical fitness, that losing a game will not end your world, but winning is better. And basketball … lots and lots of basketball.

Over the decades, Vail has produced several notable athletes. Many passed through this program.

“People in their 30s come up to us, smile and say, ‘You were my basketball coach,’” Kevin said.

Victory march

When the season is done in March, the top two teams proudly walk Vail’s I-70 overpass pedestrian bridge and head into Lionshead to celebrate at Bart & Yeti’s. Dennis has been the owner there for 37 years.

Last year was an anxious time in local basketball land for the Red Sandstone program players. Their school was being rebuilt and the students were at Camp Minturn on the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy site. All kinds of kids stopped Dennis and Kevin to grill them about basketball.

“Are we playing basketball?” the kids asked anxiously.

“We’ll always play basketball,” came the Foleys reply.

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