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Four Tigers teams seeking head coaches

DEVON O'NEIL
summit daily news
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk
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FARMER’S KORNER ” Summit High School athletic director Gretchen Nies calls it “the same old story, just different chapters.” Truly, it’s hard to argue.

Four varsity head coaching vacancies heading into summer is about average, after all, at the school’s Farmer’s Korner campus. This year’s list includes girls basketball, Nordic skiing, tennis and baseball.

Thankfully for Nies, who is charged with filling each year’s empty positions, there are no fall sports varsity vacancies. Still, the routine wore out its welcome years ago.

“Here we are again,” she says.

The girls basketball and Nordic positions have been open for a while, and Nies knew before the spring season began that sixth-year tennis coach Rae Anderson planned to retire after the campaign ended. The resignations of the baseball team’s co-head coaches, John Padjen and Gary Green, were the latest to hit Nies’ desk.

Padjen had been at the helm of the Tigers’ nine for four years. He entered with high hopes to turn around the program but, after Summit’s 1-15 season, is leaving to serve as a counselor and assistant football coach at 5A Highlands Ranch.

Green, the the Red, White and Blue fire chief who oversees the Upper Blue Valley, said Wednesday he resigned to spend more time with his family and devote more energy toward his career. He has a pair of daughters who are 7 and 8.

Both outgoing coaches said they felt they were fighting a losing battle because Summit does not have any outdoor baseball practice facility. “The facilities are inadequate,” Padjen said, a comment Green echoed.

Nies said she is not close to hiring a head coach for any of the four vacancies at this time. She called the girls hoops and Nordic jobs the most pressing of the four to fill, and said she has received one application for the Nordic job. She plans to interview that person in the coming weeks, she said.

“I’m still trying to assemble an applicant pool, and we are still interviewing for the few teaching vacancies we have here at the school, with the potential of a few coaches (head and assistant) coming out of that pool,” she said.

The girls basketball head coach will be the third in four years at Summit, while the new Nordic leader will be the fifth in six years for the Tigers. Remarkably, Summit’s ski teams have still managed to win five state championships in the last three years, including two sweeps by the boys and girls.

In addition to the head coaching posts, Nies said she has openings for assistants in six other sports: track, golf, boys soccer, volleyball, football, alpine skiing. The JV baseball head job is also open.


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