Sailors have new football coach | SteamboatToday.com

Sailors have new football coach

Former varsity assistant Aaron Finch takes job

Melinda Mawdsley

Aaron Finch was named head coach of the Steamboat Springs football team Tuesday, ending the school district’s two-month search to fill the vacancy left by longtime coach Mark Drake.

Finch accepted the position from Hawaii, where he and his family are vacationing.

“It’s a big challenge,” Finch said Wednesday. “Mark Drake did an awesome job for 30 years, and it’s pretty intimidating to try and fill those shoes. I talked to a lot of coaches before deciding to do this.”

Finch, 45, said he thought the timing was right to pursue a head coaching position. With two young children, Finch said he and his family plan to be in Steamboat Springs “for a long time.”

Finch moved to Steamboat five years ago and wasted little time getting involved with Sailors football. He served as an eighth-grade assistant for three years before moving into an assistant role with the JV and varsity program two years ago. Last season, he was the head JV coach as well as a varsity assistant under Drake.

Finch’s familiarity with the Steamboat program should help make the coaching transition smoother for him and the players who are returning next season, he said.

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Junior Tyler Fosdick, who played quarterback, receiver, defensive back and kicker last season, said he was pleased that the selection committee, which included four parents, three players, two teachers and three administrative staff members, picked Finch.

“He knows every single one of us,” Fosdick said. “That’s probably the biggest thing. He can form an offense to fit our talents, and he already knows them.”

The search for a football coach began in February when parents, players and community members met to identify what professional and personal qualities each wanted in the new coach, Athletics Director Richard Lee said.

When the application period closed March 5, two committees were selected: one to screen the applications and one to interview the finalists. Parents, players, community members and faculty served on both.

The screening committee ranked all 19 applications according to the six categories of traits and qualities developed through earlier meetings. The screening committee selected the seven finalists.

Mike Fosdick, who served on the screening committee with his son Tyler, said the process to hire Steamboat’s new coach was thorough, and the qualities the players and parents sought in a new coach were nearly identical from the get-go.

Tyler Fosdick said the most important thing to the players was finding a coach who would create an environment similar to the one that existed last year.

“We wanted a big emphasis on teamwork,” Fosdick said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a sophomore or a freshman or a senior. The best players will play, and it will be a team effort. Two years ago, it was more individual. Last year, it was all about the team, and we went really far and were having fun.”

Finch said he is ready to create the team environment the returning players are seeking.

“I’m going to coach my tail off no matter what group of kids is out there,” Finch said. “My job is to give them the environment to excel and create the environment where they can play as a team.”

Lee said that announcements will be posted to begin the process of selecting assistants, and it will be a joint effort between a committee and Finch.

Finch will begin looking toward spring football when he returns from Hawaii next week.

“I need to figure out what day I can schedule a team meeting and meet with all the guys and the seniors,” he said.

— To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208

or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com