Athletic director Phil Borchelt began telling close friends last fall that the 2011-12 school year might be his final at Silver Creek.

And after eight years in which he led the budding SCHS athletic department’s rise to success, Borchelt said Wednesday that he knows it’s simply time to move on. School officials apparently decided change is due as well.

Borchelt will be leaving at the end of the school year after SCHS declined to renew his contract for 2012-13. But the longtime administrator said he’s leaving with positive feelings and excitement about the prospects of putting his stamp on another program.

“Eight years is a long time for an A.D.,” Borchelt said. “I have no bitterness.

“When I came here I had several goals set for the program. I’ve reached all those goals. I’d like to step into some other place that needs some TLC and some energy and some care and see if I can be as successful there as I have been here.”

First-year SCHS principal Erick Finnestead said he couldn’t comment on the change, saying only, “I thank Phil and appreciate what he’s done the last eight years at Silver Creek.”

Finnestead said he would post the job opening within the next week and form a committee of parents, coaches, teachers and students to aid in the search. He hopes to name a replacement by early June.

Borchelt took over at SCHS in 2004 in the fourth year of the school.

In that time, he’s overseen a department that has enjoyed relative stability among its head coaching ranks while becoming a contender for league and state titles in several sports.

The Raptors won their first team state titles in the spring of 2008 when the boys swimming and girls soccer squads raised gold trophies just three days apart. The boys golf team added a title last fall, and football was a state runner-up.

“I’ll never forget that,” Borchelt said of the first two titles when recounting his favorite memories from the school.

SCHS head coaches like Bob Banning (boys basketball), Barb Keith (track, cross country), Mike Apodaca (football), Debbie Stewart (swimming), Dan Kloster (girls basketball) and Mike Silva (wrestling) either preceded Borchelt at the school or came onboard at the same time.

Others like Ryan Beavers (softball) and Nicholle Chambers (volleyball) have built successful programs since being hired by Borchelt.

“He supported his coaches, he supported the athletes and he supported the school by making it feel like we had athletes within our wings,” Keith said. “He made sure athletes got recognition. He’s done a really super job for us.”

Said Kloster: “I’ve never been around an A.D. that goes to as many of the events as Phil does. I’m sorry to see him go but I’m hoping things work out well for him.”

Borchelt, 47, said he needs just four more years to reach his full retirement but might work for eight or 10 more if he finds the right situation.

The idea of leading an athletic department at the 5A level is intriguing to Borchelt, who has now held the A.D. post at Crested Butte, Nederland and Silver Creek, in addition to coaching wrestling and volleyball at Bear Creek, before becoming an administrator.

Borchelt said he credits SCHS parents, coaches and athletes for enabling the 11-year-old school’s rapid rise on the fields of play.

“I’ve been blessed, no question about it,” Borchelt said.

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