Vic Fangio of the Denver Broncos isn’t the first longtime assistant in the area to finally get a head coaching job.
Fangio, a 40-year coaching veteran as an assistant, welcomed the chance to finally become a head coach — but new Highlands Ranch head coach TJ Rubley wasn’t seeking the head position after 11 seasons as an assistant at Mountain Vista and Highlands Ranch.
“I didn’t want to be a head coach, that’s not my deal,” said Rubley. “Just the way Douglas County is structured, budgeting and all that stuff, you are a fundraiser, not a coach anymore, and I want to coach kids.
“Our kids are working so hard and they need somebody to be here for them and that’s why I accepted the job and agreed to do it.”
Rubley, whose son Jake is a junior quarterback for the Falcons and whose youngest son Luke is in middle school, is the fourth Highlands Ranch head football coach in four seasons.
“There’s a lot more logistical you have to deal with, you are talking about hiring, transportation, equipment and that kind of stuff,” he said. “That is taxing and not the fun part at all. As an assistant you are worried about game plans.’’
Rubley kept some of the assistants from last season’s staff and hired many newcomers for the defensive staff and lower-level aides.
“Our assistants are absolutely essential,” added Rubley, who was a quarterback at the University of Tulsa, was on the roster and played with three NFL teams, the Rhein Fire of the WLAF plus Winnipeg and Hamilton in the CFL. “We have a great group of assistants. They are qualified with varying backgrounds. We have guys that have been in the NFL, guys that have played a lot in college and guys that have been coaching in high school. Some guys that are just coming out of youth football. We are not a typical staff in the sense we are just a bunch of teachers. These are football guys.
“I shared with them my visions and shared with them my expectations and how we do things. They all fit very well. At the end of the day I don’t want to fight with my coaches just to get something done. We have to all go in the right direction but they still have to be free thinkers.”
Rubley and his staff have will have to do a good job of preparing the team since the Falcons have one of the toughest schedules in the state. Six of the 10 games on the schedule are against teams ranked in the top 10 in the CHSAANow.com Class 5A preseason poll.
“It is a tough schedule and everybody asks: `Where did that come from?’” said Rubley. “I’ve never gotten a straight answer yet. I don’t know where the schedule came from, I just know we have 41 varsity players and it is going to take all of our players to pull the rope in the same direction. We have some good talent.
“We want to win. We played the majority of our season last year against the same schedule and we had five sophomores and a freshman on offense. We’re still young but we are experienced.”
Rubley is still the offensive coordinator.
“We have so many guys playing both ways, we have to use tempo,” he said. “Sometime we will go fast and sometimes we will slow it down. Human resource management is one of our biggest challenges. It’s tough because you want to make adjustments. Problem is our offensive guys are out there playing on defense so it’s hard to communicate to them.”
Each week, several performances of south metro athletes and teams will be highlighted. This week’s performances were selected from games, matches and meets between Aug. 23 and Aug. 28.
• Aiden Krusoe of Highlands Ranch birdied two of the final four holes he played to finish with a 1-under-par 71 and took medalist honors in the Continental League golf tournament on Aug. 26 at South Suburban Golf Course.
• Cherry Creek’s volleyball team, ranked fifth in the CHSAANow.com poll, opened the season with a 3-0 sweep over the No. 9 Mountain Vista on Aug. 27. Seniors Brandi Montoya and Katherine Von Kraut each had nine kills to pace the Bruins.
• Arapahoe freshman Ava Escorcia won the Windjammer Invitational on Aug. 24 with a time of 19:06.00 to edge classmate Ava Mitchell by three seconds in the cross country meet.
• Valor Christian senior Cole Sprout won the Vista Nation XC 2-Mile Invitational on Aug. 23 with a course record time of 9:53.00.
• Junior Maddox Tinjum provided the offensive punch with three goals in Douglas County’s 4-2 boys soccer win over Liberty on Aug. 27.
Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303-566-4083.
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