Thirty years have passed since the Steamboat Springs High School last needed to find a football coach.
But the expiration of Mark Drake's coaching and teaching contract earlier this month, coupled with the school district's firm stance on its decision not to renew his coaching contract, leaves a vacancy in the physical education department and on the football field.
SSHS assistant principal Mike Knezevich said a search committee will be assembled next month and will take its time in finding the appropriate person to continue the Sailors' successful tradition.
Earlier this week, officials wrote the advertisement that will run locally and nationally through February.
"Whether it's an athletics director, teacher or coach, we have high standards," Knezevich said. "Our kids deserve the best, no matter what the position is."
A committee of parents, community members, students and school personnel will be formed in early February to come to a consensus on what characteristics are wanted in the next football coach before the search begins, Knezevich said.
Applications will be accepted until March 3, and the search committee will screen applicants about March 8 before beginning the interview process March 15-19. Reference checks will be done, as well.
"We do have some time, but depending on who is hired and their availability, there is potential for this person to come in and do some spring football," Knezevich said.
Ideally, the final candidate also will be able to teach, but January is too early to speculate on the availability of openings. More should be known about potential vacancies within the district by the spring, Knezevich said.
"The posting is listed as potential teaching available, but nothing is set in stone," Knezevich said. "We may not know until late, and that's hard. We would obviously love having someone in the building and someone that's a teacher."
The community learned the 2003 football season was Drake's last after Steamboat's win against Rifle in October, but past and present football players, parents and community members showed up by the hundreds at school board meetings after the Sailors' state playoff run, demanding that the district reconsider its stance on Drake's future.
Nothing changed, and now attention shifts to who will replace Drake after his 30-plus years on the Steamboat sidelines.
"I think this is a pretty attractive position," Knezevich said. "We are going to bring the best person in, and if there is a teaching position open, it will be the best teacher and coach for the kids."