Doyon gets nod from Huskies’ coaches
EAGLE-VAIL ” It was an easy choice, but then again, it wasn’t.
If you had to pick the Battle Mountain Coach of the Year Award in August, the consensus would have likely been volleyball’s Brian Doyon. Coming off a state appearance in 2005, and with no seniors graduating, the Huskies spikers looked like they were going to have a big year.
But 2006-07 was another big year for Battle Mountain athletics, and Doyon’s selection as this year’s winner wasn’t a slam dunk until boys basketball coach Philip Tronsrue said so.
By the tradition under which the previous year’s winner passes along the award, Tronsrue made it official. After a a 30-1 record, including a 90-0 game record against 4A squads, and the school’s first state volleyball title, Doyon is Battle Mountain’s Coach of the Year.
Doyon, who enjoys individual awards about as much as getting a root canal ” he probably enjoys the latter more ” accepted the award on behalf of his team.
“I’m extremely proud of how hard the young ladies worked because all these accolades I get are more a reflection of them,” said Doyon, who has won similar awards from the Western Slope Conference, The Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News. “It doesn’t matter how great of a coach I am. If they don’t do well on the court, I’m not a good coach.”
Making Tronsrue’s decision more difficult was the success of boys cross country, which won state, and soccer, league winners on both the boys’ and girls’ side. Rob Parish (cross country) and David Cope (soccer) had won the award in 2004-05 and 2003-04, respectively.
“It’s nice that we’re doing so well in a lot of different venues,” Tronsrue said. “It’s good that it really makes you sit down and think and take a look at things, as opposed to having one dominant sport.”
While one gets Tronsrue’s point, the volleyball team was dominant in just about every way imaginable. The Huskies only loss of the season came to Doherty, which entered the 5A state tournament as the eighth seed.
Though Battle Mountain headed to the 4A tournament with a 25-1 record, the Huskies were seeded just fourth in the field.
“What really makes it sweet is when you have a reporter from the Front Range coming up and asking Doyon, ‘Boy, it must really be an amazing feat up there when you guys don’t play much volleyball?” He just looked at her,” Huskies athletic director Rich Houghton said.
“The Western Slope has this reputation that we can’t put out top competitors, and I knew that we were seeded fourth. I had heard that we were going to be seeded lower than that. That made it even sweeter. Western Slope ADs are always pulling for each other to make an impact at the state level.”
As a No. 4 seed, the Huskies promptly thumped No. 1 Sterling, No. 2 Cheyenne Mountain and No. 3 Mountain View in succession on the final day of the tourney to win the title.
“I think it was really impressive when they went into the (state tournament) and were kind of disappointed with a low seed with No. 4 and beat one, two and three,” Cope said. “There’s no better way to state your case.”
As heavy favorites to return to the state tournament, Doyon had to keep the Huskies focused on the task at hand through what was a rather methodical regular season. While the action on the court was rather ho-hum as the Huskies overwhelmed their competition, the scene in The Doghouse was anything but.
“It was great to have so much energy in the gym for the girls,” Tronsrue said. “Their style of play helped bring in that energy as well. They were so dominant, and people wanted to see them play, basically wanted to see them dominate anyone who was going to come in, which they did. They both were feeding off each other.”
“You’ve got to give him a lot of credit. It’s perhaps even harder to coach when there are expectations than when there are no expectations,” Cope said. “He was able to keep all those girls on task and win a state title. You can’t argue with that. That’s the goal of every team that starts the season.”
Doyon’s tenure at Battle Mountain has not been easy. In 2004, he was suspended by the school before the district playoffs because of parental politics. Two falls later, a state title seems to have quieted everyone down.
“There were a lot of people questioning him a couple years ago, questioning his methods and his tactics and he ends up building a team,” said Cope, who’s no stranger to parental sniping, despite two league titles in one school year.
Doyon, who likes talking about 2004 about as much as he does individual awards, went out of way to thank the administration of principal Brian Hester and Houghton, who started in 2005.
“That’s a huge difference,” Doyon said. “The atmosphere at the school is much better for that. To have younger kids looking up to this generation is tremendous as well. It’s starting a new legacy for Battle Mountain.”
“It’s great for the school, and it’s a testament to these coaches like Cope and Doyon who have put out the time and stuck it out through tough times to bring their programs to where they’re at,” Parish said. “The consistency of coaching has helped to bring the level of these programs up to a level where they can compete in 4A.”
Doyon nearly took an assistant coaching position at the University of Northern Colorado this winter, but he decided to return to Eagle-Vail. He wants to continue working with young athletes and preparing them for the future.
“When you’re a junior or a senior and (success) happens, you go into college having had great things happen to you,” Doyon said. “You have a lot of self-esteem and a lot of pride in what you do. It’s a huge boost for young ladies and huge boost in their lives. With hard work, the reward will come, regardless of the state championship. All these kids are learning that and that’s why we have sports in high school.”