LONGMONT -- Robert Donaldson has overseen the construction of a successful program from scratch before, building a hoops juggernaut in a situation in which basketball previously was a foreign enterprise.
That partly is why Donaldson is the perfect fit to play a part in the fledgling athletic program at Twin Peaks Charter Academy.
With sparkling new facilities and an overflow of enthusiasm permeating the small campus, Twin Peaks is laying the groundwork to become a fully accredited CHSAA athletic program, ideally in time for the 2013-14 school year.
A big part of that process has been the addition of Donaldson. For the previous three seasons, Donaldson has served as an assistant for the Longmont High boys program under head coach Jeff Kloster, a position Donaldson still holds. Yet what makes Donaldson an ideal leader for an up-and-coming program such as Twin Peaks was his extended experience overseas.
The California native graduated from Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, and enjoyed a lengthy professional playing career in England before attempting to spread the interest of the sport in the soccer-mad nation. In that spirit, Donaldson started the Coventry Crusaders in 1992, a club program that remains active and prosperous.
In fact, the banner headline on the history portion of the Coventry Crusaders website reads, "From a dream to a team." Donaldson is helping to replicate that attitude at Twin Peaks.
"The foundation is the gauge of your success -- if you build a solid foundation, whatever you build on it will maintain," Donaldson said. "You can follow success and only do it longer, or you can create. The program started in 2011, and this is where we are. Every two or three years, you take a hard look at how you are progressing. Those coaches and players coming up through the program will always be part of that historical foundation. That's always the ultimate challenge."
The 11-man Twin Peaks hoopsters are comprised entirely of freshmen and sophomores, and they are playing a schedule that features lower-level teams from similarly-sized charter schools, as well as freshman and C-team squads from bigger area schools.
Because the ultimate goal is to play a sanctioned CHSAA schedule when the current sophomores are seniors, Donaldson is not necessarily measuring his group's progress in wins and losses. Skill development is the key, and in that regard Twin Peaks is right on course.
"We're measured by how they develop, and not wins and losses," Donaldson said. "Can they go left hand and right hand? Can they stop and make a jump shot? That's what we really teach here. We don't talk about wins and losses. We look at the score as a measurement to how much we have come on."
Basketball, of course, is not the only athletic program in its infancy stage at Twin Peaks.
The east wing of the institution boasts an impressive new full-sized gym that soon will have bleachers added. There are ambitious plans to add a soccer practice field as well as a football-lacrosse stadium, which would be surrounded by a track, on the grounds just north of the school building. A baseball field is included in the master plan as well.
Thus far, the number of Twin Peaks' athletic programs has been limited by enrollment, which currently stands at about 52. But with enrollment expected to increase in the coming years--there is an entire second floor that has been constructed but is not yet being used--the athletics programs will grow correspondingly.
Twin Peaks fielded a six-man boys cross country team and an 11-player volleyball team this past fall. It would have fielded a girls cross country team but most of the female athletes chose volleyball, and putting together an 11-player volleyball team out of an enrollment of 52 actually is quite an impressive ratio.
Twin Peaks expects to field boys and girls track teams this spring, and on the horizon the school hopes to add boys soccer, with other sports to be added as enrollment increases.
"It's going to branch out," athletic director Jeremy Hamlin said. "Hopefully when we're in CHSAA we'll get to be a part of a league. It will be one of those smaller leagues, (Class) 1A or 2A. We will have limited enrollment for at least a couple years down the road just because of development. There is a lot of potential for growth."
Pat Rooney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. ;