It comes as no surprise that Monarch High School’s athletic director position is one that would draw a lot of interest throughout the region and even the state.
For Russ McKinstry, who was officially named the Coyotes newest AD late Monday night, the challenge is to take an already fully-blossomed sports culture and keep its good reputation.
“It’s always a pleasure and honor to be hired by someone that has a reputation like Monarch for high academic achievement as well as athletic excellence,” McKinstry said Tuesday. “That’s a rare combination, and it makes Monarch a desirable job.
“I’ve been around Colorado almost all my life. I’ve always been very impressed by the student body at Monarch and how much pride they have in their school. There are high standards and expectations, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m excited to have the opportunity to connect and work with them.”
McKinstry has a diverse background in Colorado preps, having been a part of schools all along the Front Range, from Greeley’s Northridge High to Monument’s Lewis-Palmer High. He was AD at both those schools, in addition to Smoky Hill.
He has held coaching jobs in track and field, baseball and football but is perhaps known best for being one of the state’s veteran basketball coaches. In 2012 and 2013, he guided the Lewis-Palmer boys basketball team to consecutive Class 4A state championships. That 2012 team was led by current CU Buff Josh Scott.
After the 2012-13 school year, McKinstry resigned from Lewis-Palmer in order to pursue business outside of the field of education. The passion for working with student-athletes soon began to re-surface, and in April of this year he accepted a job as head boys basketball coach at Castle View in Douglas County.
When the Monarch AD job was posted, however, McKinstry said he just could not pass up such an opportunity. He takes over for Lani Nobles, who was Monarch’s AD for two years.
“It’s hard,” he said of the decision. “As a coach, you get to be very involved in one program but when you get to be the leader of an entire athletic program, it’s really special. At this point in my career, it’s my desire to work with a coaching staff that has a lot of experience and a lot of success.”
In the past, McKinstry always made the long commute from the south Denver suburbs to Lewis-Palmer, and that was one of the main things that eventually led to his resigning. McKinstry said he and his wife have already sold their house and are looking forward to planting roots on the other side of metro Denver.
As far as he was aware, there were no coaching positions at MHS that needed to be immediately tended to. With two months still to go before the school year begins, there should be time to settle in to the school setting, too.
“We’re definitely planning on being a full part of the Monarch community,” McKinstry added. “My first thing is to connect with the kids and the faculty, and to build new relationships. Just get an idea of everybody’s needs and then support them the best I can.”
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