Acouple weeks back, when it became clear Kelly Meek was going to retire as head basketball coach at Steamboat Springs High School, it also became clear who Meek wanted to take the position.
"He's a perfect fit for it," Meek said of Luke DeWolfe.
DeWolfe, who coached the freshman team last year, was named head coach last week.
He'll certainly have the toughest job at the high school level in Steamboat, if not the state, next year.
Any person who took the job would have.
Filling in for legends - whether it's coaches or players - might be the toughest thing to do in sports.
Unrealistic expectations and living in the shadows of predecessors have doomed careers, often before they begin.
For every Steve Young following Joe Montana, there's been Brian Griese following John Elway.
But Meek wouldn't have recommended DeWolfe if he didn't think he could succeed. Meek sees a lot of DeWolfe in himself.
DeWolfe's a gym rat, loves basketball and has a keen knowledge of the game.
It also helps that Jim Bronner and Bruce Alston - assistants under Meek last year - will continue with the program under DeWolfe.
All that's significant, but maybe the two best things for DeWolfe are two of the main reasons Meek was so successful.
DeWolfe's already proven he can harvest relationships, and he's got the family support in place that will make him successful.
As a coach of the freshman team, DeWolfe was able to create relationships with the future of Steamboat basketball. He's also young enough to relate to the upperclassmen and certainly isn't afraid to discipline players for the better of the team.
During the track and field season, one of Steamboat's better athletes got in trouble and was only supposed to miss a few track meets. DeWolfe taught a lesson and made the athlete miss most of the season.
In his family, DeWolfe appears to have the support Meek had. DeWolfe's wife, Shelby, is a guidance counselor at the high school and was hard to miss at most home basketball games.
"It couldn't have been a bigger plus than those two staying in the program," Meek said of the DeWolfes. "His wife Shelby is tremendous. The school system is very fortunate to retain them."
With those things in place, DeWolfe has the opportunity to be successful. With the support of Meek, Bronner, Alston and his family, DeWolfe has a chance to continue the success the Steamboat program has seen the past 34 years.
And with that, the community of Steamboat has a chance to have another great coach for the foreseeable future.
- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org