Tafel gets coaching job at Rocky Mountain
After two years coaching the Palisade High School boys basketball team, coach Brian Tafel resigned late Monday night to accept the boys basketball head coaching position at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins.
Tafel was 32-16 heading the Bulldogs, with two postseason appearances.
The new job allows Tafel to return home. Originally from Longmont, Tafel spent two years as a graduate assistant under Tad Boyle at the University of Northern Colorado. He will continue to teach social studies, the subject he taught at Palisade, at Rocky Mountain.
On top of the homecoming, Tafel said he was excited for an opportunity to coach in Class 5A. He also likes the fact that he’ll be rebuilding a program that has struggled lately.
The Lobos were 5-18 last season, and were the only Fort Collins boys basketball team to miss the postseason.
“To me it was the quality of the school and the quality of the athletic programs, historically.” Tafel said. “When I was in high school, they always had the best programs. That, and it seemed to be a good fit for where I’m at in my career.
“I really want to coach at the highest level and I really want to change the direction of the program while also staying loyal to what made me successful at Palisade.
“The big thing here was defense and rebounding. I feel like the most important thing you can have, from middle school to the highest level of basketball, is defense and rebounding. I feel like the guys at Palisade really took that to heart.”
Tafel said whoever replaces him will have no trouble coaching the Bulldogs.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better place to start my career,” Tafel said. “They hired me right out of college and for them to trust me, as a young guy, with their basketball program is great.
“I’m very grateful for the teaching opportunities I had there with a great staff and great kids. I love all of those kids there, and I think whoever takes over for me, the cupboard at Palisade definitely isn’t bare.
“Whoever they hire there will have a great gig because that school has great kids who are smart, work hard, and want to win. It’s an amazing school and a wonderful community, and it was an absolutely amazing experience all around.”