LONGMONT — Rob Johnson will be coaching boys soccer in the St. Vrain Valley School District again next year.
Only he won't be wearing his usual Niwot green.
After six years as the head boys soccer coach at Niwot, Johnson accepted the head boys soccer coaching job at nearby rival Silver Creek High School. There, he will be closer to home and have the ability to one day coach his son Avery Johnson, who will be a freshman at Silver Creek in the fall.
"We live about two and a half blocks from Silver Creek so we're a Silver Creek family," Johnson said. "My kids will go there and I know a lot of kids over there. I've loved Niwot but Silver Creek is my community school."
Johnson said he considered applying for the Silver Creek job when it opened up two years ago but the timing wasn't right. With Niwot graduating 13 seniors following the most recent season, Johnson said a move felt prudent this time.
"It just seemed like an OK time to leave," Johnson said. "I sat down with my family, we talked about it and it seemed like the right decision."
In six seasons as the Niwot boys soccer coach, Johnson compiled an 81-19-5 record. His first season, the 2010 season, was the only year his team won fewer than 14 games. In each of Johnson's six years at the helm, the Cougars reached the Class 4A postseason and each year they won at least one game.
The Niwot boys reached the state semifinals in 2011 and reached the quarterfinals in '12, '14 and '15. The Cougars also won Northern League regular-season titles in '10 and '14. They were 15-2 last season.
Johnson will still coach the Niwot girls this spring.
The veteran coach also currently coaches many boys players who attend various schools in the area as the head coach of the 15-under and 18-under teams at the St. Vrain FC youth soccer organization. Silver Creek athletic director Marty Tonjes said that having observed Johnson's coaching numerous times while his Raptors battled Niwot in 4A Northern League play made the decision to hire him an easier one.
"I'm ecstatic," Tonjes said. "We're really excited to have coach Johnson join the Silver Creek family. I've had a chance to watch him over the past few years and have gotten a chance to see his passion about soccer. Not only that, but he has a passion about student-athletes. As an athletic director, we always want the best for our student-athletes, and I think we hired the best."
The past two seasons under head coach Vytas Rauba, the Raptors went 13-17-2.
Niwot athletic director Chase McBride said the school hopes to have a found a replacement for Johnson by Niwot's spring break, which is the first full week in April.
"It's a big loss for us but there are absolutely no hard feelings," McBride said. "We're going to try to interview and hire before spring break. But that's just a preliminary thought. We'd certainly like to open the door to all candidates, and if that includes a teaching position, we'd know what teaching opening we'd have by then."