Palisade promotes Tafel to be boys hoops coach

The Brian Tafel era has begun.

Palisade High School on Thursday announced the promotion of Brian Tafel to head coach of the Palisade boys basketball team.

Tafel, 27, who has been coaching with the Bulldogs the past three seasons, replaced Steve Phillips, who retired after four years as the Bulldogs’ head coach.

“I’m obviously real excited about what we’ve been able to accomplish as a program the last few years,” Tafel said. “I’m ready to keep Palisade on the basketball map.”

This season, Tafel coached the Bulldogs’ junior varsity team to a 14-2 record. Before coming to Palisade, he worked as a graduate assistant at the University of Northern Colorado under Tad Boyle, now the head coach at Colorado.

“I knew I wanted to coach and teach,” Tafel said. “It was great learning under (Boyle). In my opinion he’s one of the best coaches in Colorado.”

Tafel played basketball and soccer at Colorado College after graduating from Longmont High School in 2002.

He said he’ll utilize the same defensive-minded system used by Phillips, who in 31 seasons of coaching high school boys basketball teams compiled a 309-129 record, including a 1990 Class 3A state championship at Central.

“We’re going to keep playing tough,” Tafel said. “Our football program has that same mentality. I’m the type of person, I believe in that the same way as the football team. You have to be tough and we have great kids that are.”

Palisade Athletic Director Mike Krueger said Tafel’s hiring allows for consistency in the program.

“The first characteristic is Brian’s ready to be a head coach,” Krueger said. “He’s qualified. He’s passionate, and he’s great with kids.”


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