David R. Jennings / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
BROOMFIELD — Don’t call it comeback.
Theoretically, Mike Croell has been there for years.
The longtime Broomfield girls basketball coach, who guided the Eagles to six state title over his first 20 year stint, agreed to take the program back over starting next season.
“When I gave it up the first time, I did so for my kids and I had two boys playing basketball at the time,” said Croell, a 1983 alumnus of the school who in his first 20 seasons never missed a state quarterfinals and compiled a ridiculous 455-69 record. “Now I’ve got just one (Stevie) and I sat down and looked at their schedule and ours and surprisingly a lot of our games are on opposite nights, so I’m going to get to see a truck-load of his games.
“So I talked to him and I talked to my wife and she was the one that actually suggested it. And they, like me, realize, that if I didn’t jump back in now, when would I ever get back in?”
For the last two seasons, Croell has been able to scratch that competitive itch as an assistant for Terrence Dunn on the Broomfield boys side, “but when you’ve been the head honcho for 20 years, it’s hard to be an assistant,” he said.
Croell inherits a program that went 21-29 over the last two season under recently retired coach Derek Siefried and knows that the foundation of the program is still there and cupboard is by no means bare.
The Eagles graduated just one senior off their varsity roster, and the numbers at the lower level are still good.
“I’m ready to get back to it. I missed the camaraderie with the coaches and the girls and it’s a good group of kids,” said Croell, who has already lined up camps and other basketball activities for his girls. “They want to compete and they want to win; and like I said, if I didn’t do it now, I probably never would have done it.”
Croell will be pseudo retired from teaching and “will be able to give it my full attention and that will make me that much better of a coach when I’m hanging around all winter with nothing else to worry about except basketball.”