Crowhurst was told job would be eliminated

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— Steamboat Springs High School Athletics Director Bruce Crowhurst was in disbelief Tuesday when he went to the Colorado Associate of School Executives Web site: There, he found a job listing for the position he resigned from two weeks ago after he was told it would be eliminated to cut costs.

On Monday night, district officials announced they developed a plan that would make it fiscally possible to retain both the athletics director and the athletics director secretary positions for the upcoming school year. Tuesday, Crowhurst read about the district's change of plans in the newspaper. Then he found his position advertised on line.

"They didn't even tell me they posted it," Crowhurst said. "Maybe because I accepted another job they thought it was a moot point."

Crowhurst reached a verbal agreement with Middle Park High School principal Dale Fleming to become the school's athletics director on May 19 -- the same day Steamboat Springs High School principal David Schmid informed Crowhurst of the decision to eliminate his position.

"I don't want the community to think I bailed," Crowhurst said. "I was told I didn't have a job. I was also told it was better to resign that to have the position not retained."

The school district is under legal obligation to notify all certified employees by June 1 if their jobs won't be retained, Superintendent Cyndy Simms said Tuesday.

As of May 30 -- three days before Simms announced her recommended budget cuts to the Steamboat Springs School Board -- the high school AD position was still on her list of cuts, Simms said.

However, she took the AD position off the list before Monday's School Board meeting, after what she called "creative thinking" from the administrative team provided enough revenue to continue funding it.

Schmid and Steamboat Springs High School Vice Principal Mike Knezevich are members of that team and would have been the individuals primarily responsible for picking up the vacated athletics directors' duties.

"There are a lot of sports and over 40 coaches," Schmid said. "That's why we tried to scrape the money together to create funds for the position."

The $50,000 needed to pay for the AD and that person's secretary will be generated from, among other things, an increase in athletic participation fees, which will be sent to the district instead of retained by the high school.

Privately funded sports -- golf, tennis, skiing, hockey, baseball and lacrosse -- can expect an additional increase in costs as well.

Establishing hockey as a high school sport was a major factor in Crowhurst's decision to turn down an offer from Middle Park last year. But the rapport he established with coaches, parents and athletes in every sport over the last two years makes it tougher to leave Steamboat.

"We have the finest coaching staff I've been around," Crowhurst said. "They are great ... One of the things I did that probably some ADs don't do is I really try to go to as much stuff as I can. I don't go to every single event because it's my job. I like to see the kids perform. I never get tired of it."

The Middle Park School District didn't know that Crowhurst's job was temporarily eliminated hours before it contacted him about an opening on its staff.

Crowhurst said the school still doesn't know.

Crowhurst and his wife, Kathy, who is seven months pregnant, weren't counting on leaving Steamboat so soon.

But two weeks from Friday, Crowhurst's contractual obligations to Steamboat officially end. He spent recent weeks scrambling around -- between countless phone calls and visits from well-wishers -- tweaking schedules to finalize things, particularly through the winter season.

He officially begins at Middle Park on Aug. 11.

A search for a new Steamboat AD is already underway.

"We are waiting for applicants, and then we are going to do an interview with a pretty comprehensive committee hopefully within the next week or so," Schmid said.

Brent Boyer contributed to this report.

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