Schmitz to coach Rifle girls in hoops

Even more coaching changes are taking place at Rifle High School.

Rogers Walters recently announced he’ll return to Rifle High School, where he graduated in 1985, to coach the boys basketball team.

And now Rifle is ushering in a new girls basketball coach, Rick Schmitz, who was an athletic director and girls basketball coach the past five seasons at Coal Ridge High School.

He replaced Stephanie Heald, whom Rifle athletic director Troy Phillips said is moving to Texas, where her husband landed a job.

In a sense, Schmitz also is returning home.

He coached at Rifle from 1993 to 2005. Schmitz will remain a counselor at Coal Ridge, according to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.

“(Schmitz’s) previous teams had a lot of success,” Phillips said.

Josh Keppeler, who coached Rifle High School’s track and field and cross-country programs, recently announced his resignation from those positions.

Keppeler has decided to pursue a master’s degree after being with the Rifle cross country and track programs for six seasons.

Keppeler was an assistant who took over as head coach late in the season for Rifle’s Class 3A state championship boys track team of 2011. This spring, he helped the boys to a runner-up finish at state.

Neither Keppeler nor Schmitz could be reached for comment Thursday.

“(Keppeler) has done a really good job with the sprinters and jumpers and throwers,” Phillips said. “He was a decathlete in college, so he was an expert on a number of events. It’s hard to find someone like that.”

Phillips said Rifle assistant coach Ben Bradley has applied for the head cross-country coaching position.

“There’s a good chance that might happen,” Phillips said of Bradley being hired as head cross-country coach.

Phillips added there are no candidates for the head track and field coaching position.

“We have time to hold off on track,” Phillips said.


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