Heaps to become assistant AD at Colorado Mesa
Longtime Colorado Mesa University men’s basketball coach Jim Heaps is leaving the sidelines to become the Mavericks’ assistant athletic director for student success, effective immediately.
Heaps, who has been the Mavericks’ head coach the past 17 years, said it was time for a new chapter in his career.
“There comes a point in your career that you know, when the wins become a relief,” Heaps said today in an exclusive interview with The Daily Sentinel. “We win a big game, your kids played great and you’re relieved. You’re not happy, it’s not joyful when you win a game, but you’re relieved that you don’t feel like you do when you lose.”
Heaps, 53, has always said he enjoyed practices, where he could teach the game, much more than stress-filled games.
“What really hit it for me this year was I started to drag in practice and that’s always been my favorite part of coaching,” he said. “My knees and my back, I had to sit down in practice. I just felt I was pulling back a little bit and then you feel like you’re not doing the job you were hired to do.”
Heaps is turning the program over to his longtime associate head coach, Andy Shantz.
“I’ll miss the kids, and Tom (Spicer, CMU’s athletic director) made a great point, you’re trading a relationship with 16 players to have a relationship with 700 athletes. I’ve still got that impact on kids,” Heaps said.
His new position is that of a liaison between the athletic department and the faculty and academic services at CMU.
He’ll work with the student-athletes on everything from freshmen knowing what they have to do to register for classes, helping determine their major field of study and making sure they’re on track to graduate.
For more on Heaps’ new duties, plus what Shantz has planned for his first head coaching job, pick up Tuesday’s Daily Sentinel or go to gjsentinel.com overnight.