Paonia’s Brent McRae resigns to take teaching job on Front Range

Paonia High School football coach Brent McRae, winner of two state titles in his four seasons with the Eagles, resigned his position Monday to accept a teaching position at Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch.

McRae, 32, called the move “bittersweet” and added that there’s potential for him coaching with the Golden Eagles in some capacity.

McRae made an immediate impact at Paonia, winning the Class 1A state championship during his first season in 2013. The Eagles avenged their only loss that season by defeating Centauri 32-24, winning the North Fork Valley town’s first state championship since 1959. Behind the stellar, record-breaking play of quarterback Taylor Walters, the Eagles repeated in 2014 and finished undefeated with a 21-7 win over Buena Vista in the championship game. The Eagles gave up 22 points across four playoff games that season.

In 2015, Paonia became the 20th team in state history to play in three straight state championship games, falling to Buena Vista 27-20. The Eagles made a deep playoff run again in 2016, but lost to eventual state champion Strasburg in the semifinals.

McRae molded Walters into one of the most prolific football players on the Western Slope. Walters, now with Colorado Mesa’s football program, ranks 10th all-time in career touchdowns (92) for Colorado high school players, third in career all-purpose yards (7,023) and sixth in career rushing yards (6,675).

McRae finishes with a 46-4 record in Paonia. He also was an assistant coach with the Paonia girls basketball team that won a 2A state tile this season, as well as with the school’s track and field team.


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