Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer
Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer
NEDERLAND — Beth Buglione doesn’t quite get what all the hubbub is about.
After all, she never set out to a pioneer.
She’s a football coach. It’s what she knows, loves and has made her life’s passion. It just so happens she is the first female to hold that position in the state of Colorado.
On Monday, the recently hired Nederland football coach — along with her assistant Chuck Doudna — opened her first full day of summer offseason camp with eight young Panthers.
And much like her team, Buglione was ready to hit the ground running and get going on the field.
“I just came off coaching the Western All-Stars for the Independent Women’s League, so I’m already tired, but no, I slept well last night because I was prepared,” Buglione said. “Coach (Doudna) met for three hours last week and made sure we were on the same page and got everything planned out.
“When you have preparation, that anxiety goes away.”
And none of it was there for the boys either.
After a couple of weeks of informal meetings and workouts, they were measured on Monday and given their helmets and will soon get their new uniforms.
A majority of them had already met their coach and knew what to expect when they got to the school early to go over their goals and listen to the expectations their new staff has for them.
“”I liked her a lot when I first met her and in the meeting when she explained what she I was doing, I understood she knew what she was talking about,” said junior Damon Vigil, who will be the Panthers’ quarterback this season. “I’m excited for the season.”
And anyone associated with the program is not deaf to the rumors and secrets flying around from community members and students who just aren’t on board.
“I’ve heard from a few people that have played in the past that they don’t want to play for a new coach and especially because she is a woman,” Vigil said. “But that doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t mater if you are a male or a female as long as you know what you are doing.
“It makes me mad when those boys say that.”
Buglione preached to her new team that despite the growing coverage of her team, that it is not about her and that they need to seize the opportunity and make a name for themselves.
“Teenagers will be teenagers, and I’m sure every coach they have ever encountered they have had something to say about; but they are buying in because they love football,” Buglione said. “And as long as I showed up knowing what I was talking about and I brought on a coach who knows what he is talking about, they don’t have a problem … they just want to play.”
With the July sun beating down on the synthetic turf, there was a lot of huffing an puffing Monday but for the most part Buglione and Doudna were pleasantly surprised by the effort they got out of those in attendance.
The players ran agility drills up and down the field designed to increase speed and quality footwork, and nd everyone there was — and is — hopeful for more bodies.
“I can say to these guys, you know when you are 20 or 25 years old, you are going to regret not playing football and you are going to want to tell your kids,” Vigil said. “And now you are not playing because your coach is a woman or the coach you loved left, that’s not an excuse.
“There is no reason why you shouldn’t play the game you love.”
Said coach Doudna, who come to Nederland with a wealth of experience at a number of Class 5A school in the Metro area: “Once they realize that they see she knows what she is talking about, they understand that she understands the concepts. They don’t worry too much about who is delivering it to them, just that that person understands football.”