Todd Dixon leaving Central for girls job at Cherokee Trail
When the head girls basketball coaching position recently opened at Cherokee Trail High School, Todd Dixon thought back to early December.
Dixon’s Central High School Warriors were playing Cherokee Trail, which won, 60-22.
“I remember specifically how young they were, how big they were and how quick,” Dixon said. “And I thought there is a ton of potential on that team that’s not being tapped into.”
After four seasons of coaching the Central girls, Dixon has resigned to take the girls basketball head coach position at Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora.
“I loved it here; I felt welcome and at home,” said Dixon, who moved to Grand Junction from North Carolina. “A large part of it is their district pays a lot more. Not that they take education more serious, but it’s rough here. We haven’t had a pay raise in four years, so it’s hard not to be enticed by programs that appreciate not only what you are doing but compensate you for it.”
Besides a Warriors team he called family, Dixon said he had nothing holding him back from moving to the Front Range and competing in a Centennial League that includes Cherry Creek, Arapahoe and Grandview.
“I can do this, I’m single,” Dixon said. “A lot of people are committed to homes and families.”
In his first season at Central, Dixon’s Warriors started 4-7 and won 14 of their next 15 games, losing in the final eight of the Class 5A state playoffs.
But the team began rebuilding last season, and this year it went 6-17, although the Warriors won three straight toward the end of the season.
“This year’s team inspired me, and they lit my pilot light for coaching, so to speak,” Dixon said. “The passion they brought to the game reinvigorated my desire to keep coaching.”
Dixon said the team initially was timid, but it ended the season expecting to topple Southwestern League leaders.
“Just bringing in nine freshmen and throwing them to the wolves and watching them turn from a team that was scared of its own shadow,” Dixon said, “to a team that literally in the last game of the year against Grand Junction at home was crying because they felt like they could have beat that team.”
Dixon joins a host of other area head coaches who this year resigned their positions: Steve Phillips, Palisade High School boys basketball; Toni Gunther, Palisade girls basketball; Dave Fox, Fruita Monument High School boys basketball; Dan Schmalz, Fruita Monument girls basketball; and Kyle Rush, Grand Junction High School baseball.