The coaching carousel has picked up steam again at Niwot High School.

In the wake of hiring a new volleyball coach, and with the boys soccer position open for the fall, comes the news that both of the Cougars' head basketball coaches have resigned over the past few weeks.

Boys coach Travis Maron and girls coach Clark Burton stepped down after three seasons each, both handing in their resignations just before the season's end.

Both men have young children and expressed desires to spend more time with their families, though Maron also indicated that there were other factors in his decision, including a disconnect between him and some parents near the end of the season.

Maron's teams went 34-38 over his three seasons. That run included a 13-12 mark last season and the program's first playoff victory in four years. But the Cougars struggled through an 8-15 campaign this season and missed the playoffs.

Maron said he developed great relationships with many of his players and their families over the past three years. But for his part, he said he also accepts his own responsibility for the fate of the program and said he regrets that he wasn't able to build a better trust in his leadership from this year's team, from which came parental involvement near the end of the season.

"Once that happened there were communication breaches that for me as a coach (I) did not believe to be appropriate," Maron said.


Parental concerns included Maron being too harsh in his coaching methods.

Maron said he didn't mind parents expressing their concerns about the program, but didn't agree with their tactics.

"I can't fault them," he said. "They're doing what they think is best for their kids. But I don't agree with it. ...

"Seeing what had happened around me the last few years, I decided it wasn't really a battle I wanted to try and fight."

Maron, a teacher at Coal Creek Elementary in Louisville, said he'd seen others "who were good coaches" at Niwot pushed out by parents in recent years and felt the same fate was headed his way. Maron didn't mention specific names of the coaches he was referring to. But, most notably, longtime former head football coach Ron Tesone resigned a year ago amid player and parent mutiny.

Attempts to reach multiple boys basketball parents over the weekend were mostly unsuccessful. Susan Merriman, whose son Nathan was a senior on the team, declined to comment on the Maron situation, saying only that, "Nathan enjoyed his senior year of varsity basketball."

Athletic director Jim Butterfield said he was unaware of Maron's concerns with parents in the program.

"If there was a whole lot of undue pressure from parents, I didn't know about it," said Butterfield, who noted that Maron had always been professional and that he expects to see him coaching again someday. "I thought he was doing a fantastic job. He's a positive coach. He did some great things with our kids. ... His resignation was a surprise to me."

Now in his fourth year as athletic director at Niwot, Butterfield has certainly dealt with his share of turnover. His first year on the job was a whirlwind in which he hired at least 10 new head coaches. Since his arrival, he's replaced head coaches for 14 of Niwot's 17 sports programs -- some more than once. Burton and Maron were both Butterfield hires.

To be sure, recent coaching departures at Niwot have happened for a wide range of reasons, and Butterfield said he was not alarmed by the amount of turnover. He said there are always going to be issues between coaches and parents, but said he didn't think it's happening any more now, in general, than 20 years ago.

"I think we're just hearing about it more," Butterfield said, referring to the advent of the internet and social media.

Burton, the NHS girls hoops coach, said his main deciding factor for his resignation was being with his family more.

Burton's teams struggled mightily the last two years in the tough Northern League. An assistant for legendary NHS coach Terri Ward before taking over the program, Burton's Cougars followed up a 7-14 season his first year with back-to-back three-win seasons that included no conference victories.

Asked whether parents played a role in his own resignation, Burton didn't go there.

"It turned out that it wasn't a great fit that I hoped it would be," the NHS social studies teacher said.

Butterfield said he hopes to have replacements for both of his basketball coaches hired by the end of April.

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