Laurence Gurule's exit from the role of head wrestling coach at Central High School has been in the works for several years. The plan to replace him has also been in place for a while.
After about two decades leading the program, Gurule officially stepped away this week. Taking his place is Clint Trujillo, a former wrestler at the school who served as an assistant coach throughout Gurule's entire tenure.
This isn't Gurule's first retirement. He retired from teaching in 2017, but he wanted to remain involved with the school's wrestling program. Central was down to two candidates to act as a coach-in-waiting: Trujillo and Lucas Archuleta. However, shortly after both interviewed, the head coach position opened up at Fruita Monument High School.
Archuleta jumped at that opportunity, leaving Central with an easy decision.
"I think the biggest thing is that he's a Warrior," said Central Athletic Director Randy Powell. "He's been a Warrior. He's never stopped being a Warrior. It was a good, natural transition."
After Trujillo's wrestling days were over, he left the Grand Valley to attend Colorado State University. After his time in Fort Collins ended, he made the decision to return home to get his teaching certificate at Colorado Mesa.
"We decided to move back because me and my wife both have family in town and CSU, if you can believe it, doesn't have a teaching program," Trujillo said. "So it was either travel to Greeley and get my certificate or move back here. So I moved back and got it here at Mesa. It was the logical choice."
Logical and, ultimately, rewarding.
Even while attending Colorado Mesa, he was volunteering with the Central wrestling program whenever he could. In his first season back on board, Central won the state championship. After four seasons as a volunteer, he finally became an official, paid assistant coach.
When he first came on as an assistant, he had ambitions that he would hold the top position someday. Now, he gets that opportunity.
"Honestly, yeah, I was hoping it would happen down the line," Trujillo said while laughing. "The whole reason is that I love this sport and love helping the kids and all that.
"I envisioned it. I always had a lot of things I wanted to incorporate and all that, but I'm very excited. Very excited."