The last basketball coach Centaurus athletic director Paul Roper hired came from within the CHS family, and it was a formula that’s worked out well.
In his third season as head coach last winter, former assistant Jeff Jackson kept a successful Warriors girls basketball program rolling with a breakthrough appearance in the Class 4A state quarterfinals.
If everything goes well, Brandon Gullicksrud will be Roper’s next hired-from-within success.
Gullicksrud was hired last week to lead the boys hoops program, replacing Andy Horning, who resigned in March after five seasons. Gullicksrud spent five seasons as an assistant for Horning, moving up from volunteer assistant to junior varsity coach to varsity assistant during that time.
“Their foot’s already in the door and that’s what we like,” Roper said of hiring from within. “I think (Gullicksrud) is going to be a kid magnet. I think the kids respond to him really well. I think he’s ready to take on a program on his own.”
Gullicksrud, 30, beat out 16 other candidates for the job, a field that also included finalists Bailey Clark, an assistant at Monarch, and Andre Goldberg, a Fairview High grad and the head women’s hoops coach at Dickinson State in North Dakota.
Gullicksrud said a big thing for him about taking over the CHS job was following in the footsteps of longtime Warrior coaches like Tom Sutak, Jim Hamilton, Mike Leahy and Horning.
“He’s just a solid (guy), loves the game of basketball, incredible rapport with kids and parents,” Horning said.
Gullicksrud, 30, is a teacher at Louisville Middle School, and fiancee Karen Rogers teaches at Angevine Middle School. The couple lives less than a mile from CHS.
Centaurus was the first prep coaching stop for Gullicksrud, a University of Wisconsin grad who moved to Colorado and worked various jobs before earning a master’s degree at CU and beginning his teaching career.
“I’ve just grown a real strong connection with this community, this school, these parents, these kids,” Gullicksrud said.
Gullicksrud takes over a program that went 8-15 last season, but one thing he won’t have to do is work through a break-in period with the Warrior players. He’s already been running CHS’ offseason program, including a youth camp last week and a high school mini camp that begin Monday.
“We’re up and running,” Gullicksrud said. “I’m pretty psyched to work with this group we have coming back. We have a really smart, coachable group of seniors that is going to set the tone for us going forward.”
Richardson leaving CHS tennis
Boys basketball isn’t the last position on Roper’s hiring list.
CHS girls tennis coach C.J. Richardson resigned recently to become a strength and conditioning coach at Prairie View A&M University in Texas.
“This is what I’ve been working toward,” said Richardson, also a CHS assistant football coach who led the tennis program for the last six seasons.
Roper said he would likely wait until fall to replace Richardson.