Steamboat Springs When Bob Hiester walked into Cherry Creek High School at age 21, there never was a question about what his life would be filled with.
Even though he was just years older than some of his students, Hiester’s goal was the same.
“I always knew I was going to teach and coach. It’s been my goal since then,” he said. “I always had good coaches and watched what they did. It seemed like they really enjoyed what they did. I was in. That’s what I wanted to do. It wasn’t a thing where I was going to give it a few years. That was my life.”
And it has been.
For the past 45 years, Hiester’s life has been filled with teaching math and coaching, mainly lacrosse. But Hiester announced this week that this year will be his last. He’ll retire from teaching and coaching at the end of the school year.
“It’s the hardest decision I’ve had to make,” he said.
Hiester said that after talking to his wife, Judy, earlier this year, the couple decided it was time.
Throughout the years, the faces have changed, but the demanding schedule has not.
Hiester would arrive at school at 7:30 a.m. for the day. Coaching the Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse team, depending on when they could take the field, meant he wouldn’t get home until after midnight some days.
“It’s a grind,” he said. “But I’ve enjoyed every bit of it.”
Hiester came to Steamboat in 2001 looking to get away from the Front Range. A math job was opening up, and the school was getting ready to start a boys lacrosse team the following spring.
Before coming to Steamboat, Hiester took over the Cherry Creek lacrosse program in 1970 and started programs at Smoky Hill and Grandview.
“You have to have a lot of patience,” Hiester said about building a lacrosse program. “You have to start with fundamentals and watch the sport grow. The youth program here made a big difference. Building a program here from the ground up has been fun. We’ve gone from struggling throwing the ball up and down the field to competing at the state level.”
Hiester said his plans for retirement include lots of traveling, including visiting the couple's three children — Britta, Brian and John — and two grandchildren who live in Boston.
And for the first time in 45 years, he’ll finally have some down time.
“I’m a little nervous about that,” he said. “My wife is probably more nervous. But it’s been such a good experience. I really enjoy all the kids I see that I coached or taught. It’s really rewarding.”
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com