Devils’ Ellsworth thankful after announcing resignation |

Devils’ Ellsworth thankful after announcing resignation

Ryan Slabaugh

“I’m thankful for the opportunity and the chance to be associated with the players, the memories, and what they’ve given me,” said Ellsworth, whose career record at Eagle Valley finished at 83-22. “It’s the players who make my family. The memories they’ve given me, the community and the state.”

Why he resigned lies somewhere between the obvious and the obscure. Some have said things about a new policy requiring coaches to be teaching in the high school. Dave Scott, Eagle Valley athletic director and his former boss, hasn’t been available for comment all summer. Ellsworth, who teaches elementary school in the district, doesn’t want people to hear the political side of high school sports. “I want this article to be positive,” he said. “Things happen for a reason. I’ll figure out that reason and make it positive.”

His baseball card collection contains guys like Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris’ 1961 and a signed Hank Aaron from 1956. He’s been collecting since he was in the seventh grade and among his Wheaties boxes and volumes of cards, he talks about his favorite players, like Joe Bisant. Bisant played for Ellsworth.

Ellsworth’s been Western Slope coach of the year five times, been coach or assistant coach of the last nine players named conference player of the year and taken four teams into the elite eight of the state tournament. Thirteen of his players are playing at the college level as we speak – unheard of for coaches in the Western Slope. He had four offers last summer to coach at various programs around the state but refused them. He was comfortable in Gypsum.

Ellsworth’s vacancy isn’t the only one Scott and company will have to fill this summer. The boys and girls soccer coach, softball, wrestling and girls basketball coaches all resigned last year after their seasons. When it rains, it truly pours. But for Ellsworth, another coaching opportunity is just starting. His oldest son Reece is going to be 9 years old and ready for Little League, while Rylee, his 4-year-old daughter, can give you a Mark McGwireish bash-brothers style hand shake. Even around his own children, it’s easy to see the baseball-lover in Ellsworth.

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Born in East St. Louis, Ellsworth grew up a Cardinals fan. After college, he moved to Stillwater, Okla., where he coached future college athletes in baseball and basketball. He moved to Cripple Creek, Colo., to coach basketball for four years, and then, in 1990, moved to coach at Eagle Valley High School. He waited seven years for the head baseball spot, spending four years as an assistant under Chuck Vogel. He’s coached Devils in track, basketball, volleyball and his love, baseball.

“There’s a saying I like,” he said, opening up a book. “The past is history, the future is a mystery, today is a gift and that is why we call it the present.”

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