Photo by John F. Russell
Devin Borvansky helps run a youth basketball program for fifth- through eighth-graders as a volunteer coach.
Steamboat Springs It started when Devin Borvansky was 18 and grew into something that sometimes surprises even him.
But those who know Borvansky aren’t shocked about what he’s been able to accomplish as a volunteer coach who helps run a youth basketball program for fifth- through eighth-graders.
The program has grown by the same leaps and bounds his players display on the court. And it continues to churn out quality players who take life lessons home from the game, just as Borvansky did.
“I love basketball, and this is the purest form of it,” says Borvansky, a 2004 Steamboat Springs High School graduate. “The kids still have that passion. I was 18 and didn’t know what I was doing. I found a few tournaments and began taking these 13-year-old kids to them.”
It almost didn’t happen.
Borvansky was stuck in a classroom at the University of Northern Colorado after graduating from Steamboat Springs High School.
“I was taking business classes,” Borvansky says, “and hating it.”
But what those classes did for Borvansky proved to be good for Steamboat Springs. He started looking around and found a Fire Science Degree offered at Aims Community College in Greeley.
“Firefighting seemed like a great fit — the teamwork, brotherhood and camaraderie,” he says. “I’ve been playing sports my whole life, and it fit.”
While his work with Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue demands a full-time effort, he still finds time to help coach. It’s not uncommon to see him get off a shift at 7 a.m. and make an 8 a.m. tournament.
“He’s part of my family,” says Michael Arce, Borvansky’s lieutenant whose son Wyatt plays on one of Borvansky’s teams. “I always tell Wyatt, ‘If you need something and can’t talk to me about it, you can talk to Devin.’”
Helping others is in Borvansky’s blood. He grew up in the Steamboat basketball program and says that more than anything, that experience taught him a lot about life. Without hoops, he says he wasn’t sure he would have made it through high school.
And the coaching on top of the fire-fighting workload?
Borvansky wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I love it,” he says. “It’s a good mental release. Sometimes with the fire services, you see the worst of people. When you get with the kids and play basketball, you see the purity of humans.”