Skip to content

From most indications, it appears Boulder High landed a nice score last week when the Panthers hired Ron Burgin to lead the girls basketball program.

In Burgin, they get a coach versed in:

–Turning a losing program into a winner, as he did in Texas.

–Winning a state title and handling superstar players, as he did at ThunderRidge with Abby and Emily Waner.

–Coaching at the college level, as he did as an assistant for Ceal Barry’s Colorado Buffaloes.

–Leading multiple respected in-state programs with high expectations like ThunderRidge and Arapahoe.

–And running a club program and understanding the commitments players must make in the summer to be successful.

The fact that he wants to make Boulder, where he has family, his long-term home is simply icing on the cake.

Now, here’s hoping that he gets the all-in support from parents and the community that he — and all coaches — deserve when they take a new post.

Next season’s BHS seniors will be playing for their sixth varsity head coach since they entered the program as freshmen. That’s a set of circumstances that makes winning and developing as a player tough, constantly trying to adjust to new coaching styles and expectations.

To be sure, a variety of circumstances have led to the mass turnover in the Boulder girls hoops head coaching position. But two coaching changes in 30 months constitute misfortune. Five during that time span marks a pattern.

Issues with parents factored into more than one recent girls hoops coach — though not all — leaving BHS.

Of course, that’s the thing when coaches resign. Even when meddlesome parents are a factor in their decision, they rarely say as much on their way out the door. Most end up taking the high road, citing business or personal reasons rather than dragging out whatever saga occurred. On the flip side, the parents who are upset with the coaches rarely own up to as much — at least publicly — once they’ve gotten their desired outcome.

But if parents — and often in circumstances like this it’s a vocal minority — can’t figure out how to be involved while still giving their kids’ head coach the freedom to run his own program without worrying about who’s breathing down his neck, the trend will continue at BHS.

All of this isn’t to pick on BHS, nor BHS parents in general for that matter. For the most part, Boulder’s head coaching positions have enjoyed stability in recent years, with 13 sports there having enjoyed the same leadership for five years or more.

And parents pushing coaches out the door is nothing new.

Fellow scribe Brian Howell made some solid points a few weeks back about a recent spate of such situations in the St. Vrain Valley School District. (The story can be found at BoCoPreps.com by searching for ‘Parent power surge’.)

It happens at big schools and small schools. And winning programs are by no means immune. Yours truly nearly fell over in disbelief in a Coors Events Center hallway last winter after a state basketball championship game as a parent for the losing team told anyone who would listen that the coach’s performance was akin to a case of “early-onset Alzheimer’s.” Nevermind that the coach had just reached the final four for the third time in four years.

So Boulder girls basketball isn’t alone. But such a track record of turnover is alarming.

The kids in the program — kids who have no doubt done their best to work hard and buy into new leadership time and again — deserve more. And so do the coaches who devote their lives to kids for little more than the satisfaction it brings.

Follow Josh on Twitter: @JoshLindenstein

Join the Conversation

We invite you to use our commenting platform to engage in insightful conversations about issues in our community. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable to us, and to disclose any information necessary to satisfy the law, regulation, or government request. We might permanently block any user who abuses these conditions.