Steamboat Springs girls basketball coach John Ameen headed to ThunderRidge

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— John Ameen took over a Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball team with little success and only a few wins.

His last game as coach, a second-round loss in the state tournament this past season, marked the furthest the Sailors had been in the playoffs in more than 15 years.

After seven years as the head coach, Ameen resigned earlier this week to take a teaching and coaching position at ThunderRidge High School.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do the last couple years,” Ameen said. “With the job market improving I was able to hop on this opportunity. It’s not one thing. It’s a whole bunch of things.”

Ameen will teach AP psychology and history at the high school.

He said he had been looking to get back to a bigger city for a while and that he wanted to go somewhere where he could teach and coach.

Ameen said the move was for an advancement in his career, but that the coaching opportunities factored into it.

“There are nine high schools in the district,” he said. “That means there are 18 different head coaching positions I could take over the next few years. It’s a different culture where athletics is taken very, very seriously. It’s a whole different level.”

ThunderRidge has been a top basketball program in Colorado. The Douglas County school annually contends for state championships in both boys and girls basketball.

The girls basketball team has won three state championships and produced multiple All-Americans.

The boys and girls team each won a state championship in 2003.

“I think John’s done a great job building that program,” Steamboat Athletics Director Luke DeWolfe said. “He’s one of those coaches that has put a lot of time, energy and effort into it. It’s become a program I think people can be proud of in terms what he was able to do and able to achieve this year.”

After pursuing other opportunities and coaching positions, Ameen said the Douglas County School District and its athletic programs fit into what he wants to do. He has opportunities to be an assistant on either the boys or girls team at ThunderRidge.

He hasn’t made a decision yet, but said after talking to each coach he’ll see where he best fits.

“I didn’t need to leave to leave,” he said. “I had a great thing going in the classroom and a good thing going with the program. It really needed to be the right fit.”

Other positions still open

Steamboat Springs High School is still looking for more coaches. The school lists head positions available for baseball, boys lacrosse and girls basketball. It also has openings for an assistant boys soccer coach, a freshmen boys basketball coach and a speech coach.

DeWolfe said he has had applicants for several of the positions but is looking for a larger pool of candidates.

The boys lacrosse program should be especially enticing because the team made the Final Four this past season.

“I think finding a qualified person who can live in Steamboat is always a challenge, especially if there isn’t a teaching position,” DeWolfe said.

DeWolfe said he hoped to have all the positions filled by the beginning of August.

Applications are available at the Steamboat Springs School District’s website by clicking here.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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