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Nik Blume working to change culture with Niwot football from distance

Current Lutheran track coach finalizing football staff during hiatus

Niwot High School's quarterback Ayden Bartko ...
Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer
Niwot High School’s quarterback Ayden Bartko looks for a receiver during football practice on Sept. 11, 2019.

The sports world grinded to a halt a few weeks ago with the COVID-19 pandemic, trickling down to high school sports in Colorado with the cancellation of the state basketball tournaments and the postponement of the 2020 spring sports season.

Times may be quiet for some, but Nik Blume is hard at work for two different teams during the stoppage.

Blume is currently an assistant coach for the Lutheran High School track and field team in Parker, and is working to provide support and direction for his throwers on the team during the spring hiatus. His other responsibility is preparing to take over the Niwot High School football program as the head coach in the fall 2020 season and putting the pieces in place for his new program from afar.

Niwot’s new head football coach, Nik Blume

“I’ve been trying to honor my commitment (at Lutheran),” Blume said. “I’m trying to be here for my kids at Lutheran during this time and then also starting to get some things together (at Niwot), especially on the coaching side and getting everyone prepped for what the summer will look like.”

Blume was hired by Niwot to be the next football coach back on Feb. 20. The job will be his first head football coaching position in his career. Over the last seven years, Blume has been coaching at Lutheran, including five seasons with the football team.

“I moved here from Wisconsin, and it’s been a dream of mine to be a head coach,” Blume said.

His track duties will also continue at Niwot as he will be an assistant track coach for the Cougars and work with throwers in the spring.

Shortly after being offered the job, Blume met with players and parents at Niwot to discuss his plans with the football team. His main goal will be to bring a culture change that he has learned from his time at Lutheran in hopes to turn around the football program. Developing a hard work ethic and accountability system are areas he feels has helped grow the Lutheran programs in terms of numbers and success, and he hopes that will translate at Niwot.

His first step to that culture shift will involve a commitment in the weight room with his team.

“I met with parents and athletes for the first time, and I told them the weight room is non-negotiable for me,” Blume said. “The one thing that all really great athletes have in common is that they are committed to doing the work. You have to be physically prepared to play this game.”

Blume had begun working on implementing his vision with the Niwot football program while teaching and coaching at Lutheran, with the goal of joining the team late in the spring for practices, a contact summer camp and workout schedule for his team, but those plans have now halted with the pandemic.

Instead, Blume is trying to round out his coaching staff and put a package together for his team to get a head start on learning what they will run in 2020.

“The silver lining is that it has granted an opportunity to find quality coaches that want to come be a part of this team and this rebuild,” Blume said. “That’s been an advantage. It’s also given us time to develop Hudl content in terms of carding out plays and getting content together so that during this down time, they can get in the playbook and start to learn some things, which they would normally have less time to do right now with school and other commitments.”

Niwot is coming off a 3-7 season and has not posted a winning season since the team went 7-4 in 2008. But with some similarities between the regime used at Niwot and Lutheran for training, and with a culture developed that Blume has seen success with in his coaching career, he believes things can be turned around with Niwot football, even with having to work from afar and during a global pandemic to start his tenure.

“It’s a senior group that is hungry to win more than three games,” Blume said. “That’s been their biggest goal going into this season. There are a lot of talented kids there. I think they just need to be pushed hard.”