Quigley takes over SHS hockey
BRECKENRIDGE – Jake Quigley survived a summer’s worth of searching and came away with what he wanted all along – reigns of the Summit High School hockey team.
Quigley, the team’s top assistant the past two years, expressed his interest in the head job immediately after Ron Byrne retired in February. But the SHS administration kept its options open, interviewing four candidates seriously, before deciding Quigley was the right person for the job.
“We did have some applicants with hockey backgrounds, but they did not end up being the best candidate,” said Summit athletic director Gretchen Nies.
The best candidate was the one who had been on Summit’s bench since the program began three years ago; an assistant coach at the club and varsity levels in Summit County for six years; and a former Division lll player at Hobart College in New York.
Despite not knowing if he’d get the job, Quigley worked under the tag of “interim coach” this summer, holding several on-ice camps for the team.
“I agreed to the interim head coach role over the summer regardless of what their decision was,” Quigley said. “It was kind of frustrating for me because I just wanted to get to work. It was difficult not knowing if I was going to have that spot in the fall or not.”
With that behind him now, Quigley is focusing on the business of filling the huge shoes left by Byrne and building on the team’s first playoff appearance last season.
“Having Ron as the first coach of the team, you couldn’t ask for a better foundational philosophy,” Quigley said. “The way he put this team together and started it was top-notch. He did all the things that a young high school team needed.”
That included being a disciplinarian. Quigley’s job as assistant often was to soften the blow for players who caught Byrne’s wrath. Now Quigley will sometimes be forced to be the bad guy.
“My role is gonna change,” he acknowledged. “The expectation level rises greatly between you and your players as a head coach.
“I think I have established that rapport with the guys. I want them to respect me as a head coach, but I also want them to know they can always come and talk to me.”
Quigley sees his strength as being an ability to communicate with players. In his full-time job, he heads up the county’s Mountain Mentors program, which works with at-risk youth mostly ages 6 to 12 years old.
The high school likes to hire coaches who are teachers, but with Quigley’s line of work, Nies thinks he has a similar set of skills.
“Even though he’s not a teacher, he’s the next best thing,” Nies said. “Working with Mountain Mentors gives him the insight that’s beneficial in dealing with youth in an athletic situation.”
Nies and Quigley will make joint decisions on assistants this fall.
Colorado high school hockey has been split into three divisions this year, with six teams per division. Summit expects to be without standout forward Chris Jocelyn, who is playing junior hockey in Ohio, and Cam Carlson, who transferred. Summit will play each of the teams in its division three times and will have six other non-divisional games in a 16-game season. It will need to place in the upper half of its division to reach the playoffs for the second straight year.
“It would be really nice to build on what we’ve done so far,” Quigley said.
Summit will begin dryland training three days a week in October.
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