When Travis Peeples first announced his resignation as head coach from Frederick football, it sent shockwaves through the Warrior community. He had only spent five years with the program that he had built from the bottom up.
Last week, the Frederick athletic department announced its upgrade after winning over Class 5A Ralston Valley coach Matt Loyd, who had spent all 22 years with the Mustangs since the school’s founding in 2000.
In doing so, the Warriors inherited a coach who brings 31 years of coaching experience — 28 as a head coach, with six prior years at Golden — and 200-plus wins on his resume. From 2004 to 2021, according to MaxPreps’ records, he boasted a 159-52 record and sent the Mustangs to the state playoffs 21 out of his 22 years there, minus the COVID-restricted season in 2020.
The legacy he built there is nearly unmatched among coaches of his tenure in Colorado.
“He’s the type of coach that’s going to demand the most out of his players and he’s the guy that’s going to make relationships with kids, just like Travis did,” Frederick athletic director Ty Gordon said. “He’s going to get the best out of his players. On top of that, he’s the guy that has been so successful and why he’s been successful is because, again, his relationships with his kids. As a coach, it’s not just about wins and losses. It’s about more than that.”
Loyd couldn’t quite attain that elusive state championship as the Mustangs grew from a 3A school in 2000 to a 4A school a couple of years later. But, even when the Mustangs jumped up to 5A in 2010, they never lost their fire or competitive edge.
Loyd’s philosophy that success starts in the weight room, and with other sports to supplement football, held true through all three classification levels. After more than two decades of teaching and coaching football and track at RVHS, it was time for him to enter retirement and take his talents to a smaller school outside of Jeffco Public Schools and outside of the Denver Metro area.
“It’s time to do less, is really what it is,” Loyd said. “I was contemplating retirement at the beginning of the semester and then eventually, I just came to the decision that, ‘You know what? If I’m thinking about it, I might as well retire.’ … With 30 years in one district, you can’t just go to another district and expect to continue because no district will give you that amount of years.”
Excitement abounded through the Frederick football players when Gordon first introduced Loyd to them on March 30. Even though he doesn’t have any championship rings donning his hands, Loyd helmed a program that became a perennial powerhouse in Colorado football. Of those 21 berths, five ended in the semifinals and another six made it to the quarterfinals.
To achieve the necessary “retirement” status in the St. Vrain Valley School District, Loyd plans to teach just a class or two to make sure the culture of his new program begins inside the building. He’s still wrapping up the school year and track season at RVHS, but is excited to continue what Peeples started once summer begins.
He’s hoping he can mold this 3A school into another perennial playoff powerhouse for the future, especially after the Warriors played their way to the 3A quarterfinals in 2021 before falling to eventual state champion Fort Morgan.
“I think it’s a great opportunity. I’m very blessed to be there and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got. I appreciate them giving a retired guy a shot,” Loyd said. “I met (the players) last week for the first time, and we’re going to start working with them as soon as we can. We watched some film from last year and it looks like they’re very tough and play hard. I’ll commend coach Peeples and his staff. They did a good job of getting them ready to go.”