Steamboat Springs High School basketball coach Kelly Meek gives his last Sailors team some instructions during a timeout March 7, in a Class 4A playoff game against Pueblo West at Widefield High School. Meek has announced his retirement after 34 successful years coaching Steamboat boys basketball.
More on Meek
The Steamboat Pilot & Today will reflect on Kelly Meek's illustrious career at Steamboat Springs High School as part of a special package in the June 15 edition of the newspaper.
Steamboat Springs After 36 years as a coach - including the past 34 as head boys basketball coach at Steamboat Springs High School - Kelly Meek has announced his retirement.
Citing limited time and a desire to spend more time with his family, Meek said Tuesday that he felt he owed it to the players to get a new coach who could devote enough time to the program.
"With the time constraints, I'm not around as much," Meek said. "It's not the best way to run the program. The selfish part in me wants to stay, but it wouldn't be right."
Meek leaves as one of the most successful coaches in Colorado history.
During Meek's time in Steamboat Springs, the Sailors won 44 league, district or regional championships and 20 preseason tournament championships.
Meek's teams have won the Western Slope League championship eight of the past 11 years, including three undefeated league campaigns in the past four years. In that span, the Sailors won 30 consecutive league games, a school and league record.
Meek's 544 wins place him third all-time among high school boys coaches in Colorado and second all-time among coaches at one school.
"I think what we're losing is the best coach in the league - the best man in the league," said Moffat County girls coach Craig Mortensen, who coached against Meek for 19 years when Mortensen was the head coach of the boys team in Moffat County. "That's what I think we lose. You can't imagine or think about all the good he's done for kids and people. It just can't be described, it can't be written. Colorado is losing one of the best coaches ever."
Steve Maneotis, who played against some of Meek's first teams and took over as head boys coach at Moffat County High School last year, said every time a team played Steamboat, it absolutely knew what it was getting itself into.
There wasn't a better tactician or classier guy in the game, Maneotis said.
"It'll be different looking down the sideline and not seeing him dictate and control a game," Maneotis said, "because nobody did it better."
Meek said in the offseason, he usually is in the gym Monday through Friday working with players.
With his father ill in Grand Junction and four grandchildren between the ages of four months and 3 years old, Meek had been in the gym only five times in the previous month.
"When I was with my dad, I felt bad about not being with the team," said Meek, who would often leave after games Friday or Saturday to drive to Grand Junction. "And when I was with the kids, I felt bad about not being with my dad."
Meek said he'll help with the transition to the new coach. Staff from last season, Meek said, is helping him set up camps and open gyms to keep everything going until there is a new person in place.
"Whoever gets this job will have the fortune of having great kids," Meek said. "I met with (the team), and it wasn't an easy meeting. I was emotional about it. It's the most difficult decision I had to make in my life."
Meek said he'll now spend time with his father and mother in Grand Junction, see his grandchildren as much as possible and help out his son-in-law, Mike Moskowitz, who is the head men's basketball coach at Western State College in Gunnison.
"I would really like to thank the community, the players, the coaches, the managers, the ladies in the office, the janitors and everybody. It has absolutely been the best," Meek said of his time at Steamboat Springs High School, where the main gym bears his name. "We've loved it. We had many chances to leave and go to bigger places or to colleges. We don't look back with any regrets.
"It's been a real family affair. We were lucky to have the type of kids we had and the support we had. Thanks from the bottom our hearts."