Meek honored in brief ceremony

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For 31 years, basketball coach Kelly Meek has been a fixture along the sidelines of Sailor games.

Now his name will be a fixed to the school's newest gym.

After seven seasons, the gym officially will be named after the longtime basketball coach who has made Steamboat one of the top programs in the state.

"I'm humbled," Meek said. "I've been very blessed that I've been around a lot of neat people over the years."

The announcement came Monday during an informal presentation in the high school's commons area by Pincipal Dave Schmid. There will be a more formal presentation later this spring.

Meek said he was embarrassed that his would be the only name on the new gym and credited many people for his success.

At the top of the list was his wife, Karen, who has supported him since he first started coaching in 1973.

Karen said she knew the gym was going to be named after her husband a few weeks ago but was asked to keep it a secret. Meek found out about the decision to name the gym after him Sunday -- after returning from a trip to Sicily where he was visiting his daughter Aimee.

"The first thing he asked me was if I knew about it," Karen said. "If he knew about it, I don't think it would have happened."

Administrators had hoped to make the announcement in January when Meek won his 500th game as a coach. But the timing didn't work out.

Karen said naming the gym after her husband is a fitting tribute to a man who has dedicated his life to teaching young athletes at Steamboat Springs High School about basketball and life.

But his legacy reaches beyond the hardwood.

In his first year, he was hired as the school's head track coach and worked as an assistant basketball coach under Bob Harris. He also helped coach football.

He was offered the job as head basketball coach in 1974. Meek continued to coach track and basketball until 1984, when he elected to coach just basketball so that he could spend more time with his three girls and his wife.

Meek is the second coach at the high school to have a gym named after him. Coaching legend Carl Ramunno, who coached teams to six state wrestling titles between 1956 and 1987, has his name posted above the old gym.

Just down the hallway, Meek put his stamp on the new facility in January when he won the 500th game of his career against Delta. This year's team advanced to the state quarterfinals and finished with a 21-3 record.

But Meek is quick to point out that his biggest accomplishments have not come on the court, but in the lives of the players he has coached during his career.

"There are a lot of people who share in these accomplishments," Meek said. "I'm just the one who's been here."

--To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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