Steamboat Springs The only coach the Steamboat Springs girls soccer program has ever had is stepping down to spend more time with his family.
Jim Dudley, who agreed to coach the team 12 years ago when girls soccer began as a club sport, led the Sailors to the playoffs each of the past eight years and coached the 1998 state champions.
Dudley, for whom Dudley Field at Trafalgar Park is named, said he came to the decision after talking with his wife, Gayle. The Dudleys have three grown sons Matt, Mark and Luke.
"My kids are kind of scattered out throughout the country and world and I wanted to spend more time with them and my wife," Dudley said. "That's probably the biggest part of it."
Dudley, 54, will continue to work as a family physician at Steamboat Medical Group.
Steve Moos, athletics director at Steamboat Springs High School, said Dudley will be difficult to replace.
"I would think that would be big shoes to fill," Moos said. "Girls soccer has been one of our most successful programs over the last eight years."
Steamboat won the 1998 state championship, defeating Palisade in the Class 3A finals.
Liz Masterson, a senior on the Sailors' 2001 squad, said Dudley will be missed.
"He's been a great influence on all of us and we'll remember him and everything he taught us," Masterson said. "He holds a special place in all of us."
Sailors assistant coach Jon Hawes said the field was named after the coach because of the large influence he has had in the local soccer community.
Dudley is the pioneer of the school's girls soccer program.
For the first couple of years, he coached Steamboat girls soccer as a club sport before it officially became a high school sport.
Since 1994, Steamboat has made eight consecutive trips to the playoffs under Dudley.
This year's team swept through the Western Slope League undefeated and finished overall at 14-2-1. It lost its final game to Broomfield in overtime in the state quarterfinals.
"To go as far as we've gone, that was a real high," Dudley said. "I can't think of a better way (to end it)."