Editor’s note: This article has been changed to reflect that Stephanie Hose has been the head coach at Eagle Ride Academy since the start of the 2017 season.
As a longtime physical education teacher, a coach of several girls sports and an athletic director, Longmont Christian’s Kami Puchino didn’t even give pause to the idea that she couldn’t handle coaching the baseball team this spring.
Not only is the national pastime a family affair, for sure, being at a small K-12 Christian school has offered Puchino a chance to get to know many of the student athletes and their families for years now.
Thus, the idea that she could be making history — she is believed to be one of the first female high school baseball coaches in Colorado — didn’t create any game of a pickle in her mind when the job came open.
“These boys have always been respectful to me, and I can actually say they are excited which is awesome,” Puchino said in a recent phone interview. “I have had a lot of them as students since they were fifth-graders, and they’ve just always have been respectful. They’re great kids.
“They listen and we’re getting things done that I don’t think they have ever really learned.”
Although she isn’t the first female to coach a baseball team in the state — Stephanie Hose has coached Eagle Ridge Academy in Brighton since 2017 — she is a member of a rare group.
Earlier this school year in Nederland, Beth Buglione was hired to coach the school’s football team, a much ballyhooed hire that, unfortunately, couldn’t save the program from being shut down in favor of boys soccer in the fall for at least the foreseeable future.
Longmont Christian, which has seen success in several sports, has also had its share of problems getting enough athletes out for others over the years. The Warriors didn’t field a football team this past fall — a disappointment talking to anyone from the school — and even the baseball program had to be put on hiatus for a two-year cycle because of numbers. Last year, the team was quite raw, and it resulted in a 1-16 record.
Puchino wants that to change, and she’s not the only one. It’s a big reason why she decided to put herself out there.
“I’ve just kind of felt that I want to take the school to a different level of playing and not so much just a … recreational kind of thing,” Puchino said. “With some of the sports here, it does just seem recreational and I want to get our kids out of that way of thinking. I want to be competitive in every sport we can offer at Longmont Christian.
“Our new principal is eager to get more sports going and get more kids.”
Victor Puchino, Kami’s husband, was previously an LCS head baseball coach, and her son Luke is going to be on hand for most games after having graduated last year. One of her other sons, a sophomore named Dominic, will be pitching — giving this dugout a unique dynamic.
Kami Puchino has coached travel softball for 24 years, and she said she believes a lot of that will translate. She’s also not afraid to make some aggressive mistakes, she said.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if I get them thrown out on the bases a lot at first,” Puchino said. “I’m just that aggressive kind of coach with the softball team I have, and coming in with 90-foot bases … they’re going to have to be okay with it while I get a feel for the field a little more.”
The Warriors get their season started against Lyons on Tuesday.