Baumgartner steps down in Hayden | SteamboatToday.com

Baumgartner steps down in Hayden

Hayden coach Shawn Baumgartner speaks with his team after a win at home in the 2012 eight-man football playoffs. That was one of seven playoffs appearances Baumgartner's Tigers earned in his 12 years guiding the program. He announced Tuesday night that he was resigning from the district to take a job in Steamboat Springs.

— Nothing about it was easy, Shawn Baumgartner said. In fact, he said standing in front of the Hayden High School football team Tuesday night and delivering the news was as difficult as anything he's ever done.

Baumgartner by the numbers

70 — Shawn Baumgartner’s teams won 70 times in his 12 years as head coach. He finished with a 70-50 record.

7 — The Tigers made the state postseason seven times in his career. Those trips included one semifinals appearance, in 2007, and two quarterfinals games.

8 — Hayden improved by eight wins from Baumgartner’s first season to his second, from 2-9 in 2003 to 10-1 in 2004.

9 — That 10-1 season was the start of a special run. The team lost just nine games from 2004 to 2007, making the playoffs each season.

As painful as that was, Baumgartner, head football coach for the Tigers since 2003, said stepping down from the program and away from the school was something he had to do.

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He's been commuting — 50 miles roundtrip — from Steamboat Springs for a decade, and with both of his daughters now in school in that district, the convenience of a job there was simply too much to turn down.

Baumgartner will take over as a physical education and health teacher at Steamboat Springs High School and work as offensive coordinator for the Sailors' football team.

"We thought this was something that would be best for the family," he said. "The opportunity came up, and it was one of those you can't pass up."

Baumgartner, who's taught at Hayden since 2002, was planning for the looming football season in Hayden, which begins Aug. 17 with the first fall sports practice of the season.

Those plans changed early this month when the job opening in Steamboat was listed. His daughter, Naomi, is seven years old and will be in second grade, while his youngest, five-year old Ella, starts kindergarten this fall. His wife, Melissa Baumgartner, works at and owns Center for Sports Medicine in Steamboat.

"The girls are getting older, and the schedules are getting more hectic," Baumgartner said. "This will definitely help the situation here at home, and living here in Steamboat, being more active and involved in the community is something I am looking forward to."

He leaves a Hayden program that finished 4-5 last season, a step up from 2-5 in 2013.

That's been a low point for the program, however, and Baumgartner presided over plenty of Hayden wins. His teams won at nearly a 60 percent clip, finishing 70-50 in 12 years. They made the playoffs seven times in that span.

He also coached the boys varsity basketball team from 2002 to 2007, but football was his main focus.

In 2004, his second year as head coach, the Tigers bounced back from a 2-9 record to go 10-0 in the Western Slope league. "Baumgartner's Boys" went 7-3 a year later, 9-2 in 2006 and in 2007, 9-3, winning two playoff games to advance to the state semifinals.

The team also made the playoffs and won a game there in 2010 before declining school enrollment forced the team to drop from 11-man football to eight-man in 2011. Hayden quickly left its mark in that division, making the postseason in 2011 and again in 2012.

He took pride in a spread offense, but more than that, in changing the team's style to suit its personnel. What was a wide-open passing attack one season could be a grind-it-out rushing machine the next.

He was named Class 1A coach of the year by the Rocky Mountain News in 2007 and was the Steamboat Pilot and Today’s coach of the year in 2012.

"We had a lot of great teams," he said. "When you start thinking back, all these different faces and memories start popping back in your head."

For Hayden, the move means a quick search for a replacement. Athletic director Zach Wuestewald — brand new to the job himself — said the search will begin immediately.

"It's tough, because Shawn spent so much time with the program,” he said. “He wasn't just a great coach, but a great man, a great person to be in our district.

"It won't be easy to replace him, but we're excited about the kids we have coming up who are wanting to work hard and want to learn, so it's going to be alright."

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

Baumgartner by the numbers

70 — Shawn Baumgartner’s teams won 70 times in his 12 years as head coach. He finished with a 70-50 record.

7 — The Tigers made the state postseason seven times in his career. Those trips included one semifinals appearance, in 2007, and two quarterfinals games.

8 — Hayden improved by eight wins from Baumgartner’s first season to his second, from 2-9 in 2003 to 10-1 in 2004.

9 — That 10-1 season was the start of a special run. The team lost just nine games from 2004 to 2007, making the playoffs each season.