Meyer steps down as Huskies football coach
EDWARDS — Oh, by the way, Battle Mountain football is looking for a coach as well.
Battle Mountain football coach Kevin Meyer stepped down as the school’s football coach on Thursday, announcing that he is taking a position at Beatrice High School in Nebraska to be nearer to his family.
Thursday’s announcement was a bombshell in the Huskies community after Meyer had led the team to a 6-3 season and seemed to have the usually woebegone program heading in the right direction.
“It’s a family decision,” Meyer said. “My wife and I both have family in Nebraska. Being that far away from them is the major factor in this decision.”
Meyer’s daughter is also a freshman at the University of Nebraska, which is about a half-hour away from Beatrice, another compelling reason.
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And so, in the course of nearly 24 hours both of the county’s public schools are looking for a new football coach after Eagle Valley’s John Ramunno resigned on Friday.
“Coach Meyer means a lot. He advanced our program, particularly last year,” Huskies athletic director Ryan McKay said. “We’re indebted to him for that. We feel we’re in better situation to move forward and we will be obviously taking those necessary steps to find a coach who will keep moving us in a positive direction.”
From Battle Mountain’s perspective, the frustrating part about Meyer’s departure is that the Huskies had a fantastic season in 2014. After two 0-10 seasons, Battle Mountain moved down to the 2A level to rebuild and were doing just that. Although he only got onto the scene in June, Meyer was able to generate enthusiasm for the program and the numbers for the team, the program’s perpetual catch-22 problem — Battle Mountain football struggles and prospective athletes don’t come out for football, and the team continues to lose.
Battle Mountain won the 2A Slope North in 2014. Yes, it was at a lower classification, but the school has only one other league title in its history, 1991. During the conference season, the Huskies notched impressive wins over at Aspen, 21-11, and at Moffat County, 41-27. The latter was particularly noteworthy since the Bulldogs were in the 3A Slope with the Huskies in 2013 and clobbered Battle Mountain, 54-3, the previous season.
The Huskies were nearly in the playoff hunt for Class 3A before a season-ending loss to Pueblo County. (Battle Mountain had to win its 2A league outright, which it did, and finish 16th or better in the wild-card points, in which it dropped to 26th after the loss.)
Been there, done that
Battle Mountain finds itself in the unenviable, yet familiar position of looking for a new head coach. The school has had eight head coaches in the last 18 years. To continue to build upon the momentum of last season, this position needs to be filled quickly.
“We feel we’ve got some string internal candidates we’re going to look at, and our exact next steps we haven’t decided yet entirely,” McKay said on Thursday about two hours after Meyer made his announcement. “We will be taking some serious looks at it early next week and making some serious decisions about what our next steps are.”
Meyer said that while the Huskies are losing some good players to graduations “just like any other program,” he feels the team has a lot of talent.
“When I met with the kids, they were talking about the playoffs next year,” Meyer said. “They asked if I’d come back (to watch) if they made the playoffs, and I said that if (Beatrice) wasn’t playing, I’d be here. I wish everyone the best.”
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.