Koetteritz resigns as Huskies A.D.
EAGLE-VAIL – Battle Mountain athletic director Fred Koetteritz formally resigned from his position Thursday after sending out an e-mail Monday to the Huskies’ community.Koetteritz, who had served in the post since the spring of 2001, will be moving to Summit High School where he will be a history and social studies teacher.He cited his family as the reason for the move. He and his wife, Shona, have two young girls, Christina Marie, 3, and Emily Lynn, 1, and the demands of the athletic director’s office took too much time away from them.”Pretty much it boils down to family,” Koetteritz said. “Returning to the classroom will be a little more conducive to family time.”There is also the fact that Koetteritz’s daughter from a previous marriage, Jackie, will be a senior next year at Summit.”She needed a place to go for lunch money,” Fred joked. “We love the mountains. We want to stay in the mountain area. It was a double bonus to wind up in Jackie’s school.”Koetteritz has been at the school for nine years. Athletically, he’s coached wrestling, track and football (both has a head coach and an assistant), as well as being the AD the last four years. During that period of time, he’s developed some tight bonds with the school.”Whatever that was nine years ago was just again a fantastic opportunity for me to move from Minturn Middle School up to Battle Mountain, to get involved initially in wrestling and then later on football and track,” he said. “Growing up with a lot of kids, going to a couple weddings of former athletes, I’ve kind of gone full circle. It’s going to be tough.”ReactionKoetteritz’s colleagues responded with a mix of sadness and appreciation.”I think this is a move that Fred has thought about,” said Pat Phelan, the dean of all Battle Mountain coaches. “It’s definitely for the betterment of himself and his family. He’ll be back in the classroom with the kids. “I don’t know why anybody would be crazy enough to take that A.D. job. It’s six days a week. You’re constantly gone on the weekends. He goes to every single game. You’re in Colorado Springs away from your two young daughters. I think for those reasons it’s a great thing for him. I’m going to miss him. Fred Koetteritz is a genuinely good person.”There was an agreement that being an athletic director is a thankless, all-time-consuming job. It’s definitely a labor of love.”I can’t imagine it,” cross country and track coach Rob Parish said. “Every coach has their sport which they’re thinking about and they’re working toward. He has 17 of those sports he’s trying to juggle. We all have our focus on our sport, but Fred has to have the whole picture in mind in making decisions and organizing events. He’s done a phenomenal job.”Soccer coach David Cope, also a father of two daughters, knows what Koetteritz has gone through the last four years. He cited the assorted trips to hockey games in Colorado Springs and playoff games that kept Koetteritz away from home. “As excited as you are for everybody to make it to the playoffs or regionals, that just means even more commitment,” Cope said.Cope was most grateful for Koetteritz’s support in October 2003 when Cope ran afoul of CHSAA rules when he pulled his players off the field during an junior varsity game in Glenwood. Cope was suspended for one game for that incident.”When I went through my little deal with CHSAA, he was really, really supportive,” Cope said. “I think the boys appreciated how much he supported our team and helped the boys from being thrown out of the playoffs altogether and helping me to have a one-game suspension and then come back.”A legacyWhen Koetteritz took over the job he had three major goals. The school had moved to 4A two years previous, and by and large, was struggling to compete. Coaches were going in and out of Battle Mountain like a revolving door. And, Battle Mountain was about to launch a hockey program.Huskies hockey has likely been Koetteritz’s biggest headache during his tenure. On the ice, the program has been a success, being one of the elite teams in the state from its inception. Off the ice, it’s a soap opera.Three coaches have come and gone in four years for a variety of reasons. And, parental sniping has also been high.In Koetteritz’s defense, he was involved in only one coaching change – Ken Bielski in 2002. Jade Kersey left because of a disagreement with the Vail Junior Hockey Association and this year’s coach, Andy Hire, left because he has family back in Ohio. Further, parental involvement in local hockey started a long time before Battle Mountain launched its program.This situation illustrates Koetteritz’s success in the other two areas. With the exception of hockey, Battle Mountain has reached a level of stability when it comes to the coaching ranks.”I think it’s been the unparalleled support for the coaches,” Cope said. “I think the biggest thing he’s done for the whole athletic department is brought unity so that all the programs are supporting each other, interacting with each other a lot more than they did in past.”After years of turnover, both basketball programs are in good hands with David Hite and Philip Tronsrue. Cope is a fixture in soccer circles. Parish has taken the mantle in cross country and track. Pat Engle is starting the long road to turning Huskies football around. Koetteritz also stuck by volleyball coach Brian Doyon last fall after a prickly confrontation with parents. Coaching stability has gone a long way to improving the caliber of athletics at Battle Mountain. Though controversial, there’s no doubting that Doyon has Huskies volleyball going in the right direction. The ladies posted their first winning season since 1999 last fall.Cross country has blossomed. The girls were fifth in the state and the boys made their first state appearance as a team. And the track program continues to grow in the spring. Soccer is just humming along with Cope’s boys winning a league title last fall and the girls making the second round of the state playoffs earlier this month.Boys basketball had a remarkable turnaround this year, going from 3-18 to 16-8. The girls basketball team, perpetually wandering in the forest, made the state playoffs for the first time. Skiing continues to succeed with Grant Stevenson becoming the second Skimeister in as many years from Eagle-Vail.”He’s meant everything to the Battle Mountain athletic department,” Parish said. “He’s seen Battle Mountain make the transition from 3A to 4A. Battle Mountain was at the bottom of that league and he’s helped everybody weather the storm and raise their level of competitiveness.”Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 614, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado
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