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Football: Boulder hires Craig Van Patten as new head coach

Coach was offensive coordinator with Panthers last two seasons

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It took just a couple of seasons at Boulder High football for Craig Van Patten to land the job he’s been working toward for two decades.

On Thursday, Boulder High School announced that, following the promotion of former head coach Ryan Bishop to athletic director, Van Patten would take the reins of the varsity football program as interim head honcho.

The offensive coordinator of two years hopes he’ll stay in the position far past the interim stage, but the timing of Season C’s spring schedule and the upcoming fall slate put the program in a bit of a pinch.

“I think at this point, it’s just like we’re at the beginning of July, and … it’s a very short turnaround,” Bishop said. “Playing in the spring wasn’t conducive for anybody’s timeline, but it was what was best for our school. Obviously, we were able to have a wonderful spring, and now he’s going to kind of carry on what we’ve started.”

Given the chance, the Boulder football program chose to defer its 2020 fall season to spring of 2021 to give the fall COVID-19 surge the opportunity to calm down. That decision paid dividends for the Panthers, as they paved their way to a Class 5A state title game appearance in early May.

Van Patten is excited to guide the team as it continues to trend upward.

“I think everybody’s goal when you’re coaching high school is eventually, at some point, to be a head coach, but I was happy being the offensive coordinator for Boulder,” Van Patten said. “Ryan Bishop was the head coach and he’s done an amazing job with our football team. I think he got us going in the right direction and I loved being his offensive coordinator. When he got the athletic director job, I wanted to — just for our players’ sake and the direction of the program’s sake — keep it in house and carry on the work that Bishop had already started.”

Van Patten plans to double up as offensive coordinator for the foreseeable future as he guides the team in every other facet of play. He’ll have plenty of experience to lean on after spending 15 years at Legacy High School prior to his short stint at OC in Boulder. He served as the receivers and running backs coach for the program from 2006 to 2016 under head coach Wayne Vorhees, during which time the Lightning enjoyed 10 playoff appearances.

Bishop looks forward to seeing what his assistant of two years can do. For the time being, Van Patten plans to keep the status quo that Bishop spent years building so as to keep the Panthers trending in the right direction.

“He’ll bring his own flavor to the program while at the same time, continuing what we did in the spring,” Bishop said. “I’m excited for Craig to get this opportunity and for Boulder High to have somebody with so much knowledge and so much experience. He’s been a proven winner, so he’ll bring that attitude and that commitment to Boulder High School.

“His commitment, his dependability, his leadership, his experience all boded well for the success that we’ve had and I think as a head coach, he’ll just continue that. Everybody needs their first opportunity and this is his first opportunity as a football head coach.”