Paonia and Hotchkiss high school sports programs will both have new leaders at the helm. Isaac Snell, a new face in the Delta County School District, will join the staff at Hotchkiss.
At PHS, Paul Shean, ESL teacher at Delta High School the past seven years, will replace Krista Carsten. Shean will also teach Spanish and social studies.
In addition to teaching and other duties, athletic directors have a myriad of responsibilities, including scheduling, ensuring student eligibility, and managing game-day activities.
Snell, 31, will take over where Horton left off in just about all areas, including teaching PE and working as an assistant coach for the Bulldogs football team. Snell will focus on the offensive and defensive lines. "That's his area of expertise, so it worked out well for us," said Bulldogs head coach Zac Lemon.
Horton, who had two stints at HHS, the most recent lasting six years, retired to follow son Braeden's football career at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. Lemon said Horton will be missed, both in the classroom and on the field. Horton "always knew what was going on," said Lemon. "He was all about the kids, all about sports... He just loved Hotchkiss all around."
Snell met wife Luann in Denver, and they moved to the area in 2008. He hoped to land a teaching job, but with few jobs open he took a job in the mines. He said he jumped on the opportunity.
Snell has been on the job just over a month and said the learning curve is steep. But by last week's Bulldog football training camp, he was right at ease.
But then, Snell has spent much of his life on the gridiron. "I always wanted to play football, said Snell, who stands 6' 6". "And I achieved my dream."
By the time he graduated from high school in Minnesota, he'd played virtually every position. "But when I got to college," said Snell, who attended North Dakota State, "I moved in and found a home on the D-line."
Snell eventually got to the NFL, and spent more than four years as a free agent, first with the New York Jets, then Tennessee Titans, and for about a year and a half with the Denver Broncos. When he moved to the pros, "They switched me over to the O-line."
He eventually moved to Arena League, but injuries ended his career.
"I grew up loving football and kind of really wasn't sure what I wanted to do after my career ended," said Snell. But he knew he liked being around kids, so teaching seemed the natural path to take.
Snell said he hasn't followed the Bulldogs closely, but he heard plenty about the team while working at the mines. He knows that head coach Lemon and his staff have built one of the best programs in the state (at 48-9, the Bulldogs have the 10th best all-class record in the state). "I'm impressed," said Snell. "For being in a small school, the type of program they have put together is pretty impressive."
Coach Lemon cares about the players, said Snell. "He tries to create an environment where they can be young men instead of just football players. I like that a lot."
Snell said he comes from a small, blue-collar town in Minnesota that is just like Hotchkiss. That makes it easy to fit in. "It was just a great opportunity for me and my family," said Snell.
Shean will replace Krista Carsten as the athletic director at Paonia High School. Carsten will return to teaching full-time and will continue as head volleyball coach.
Shean taught ESL at Delta High School for seven years and worked as the Panthers assistant football and baseball coach. Shean said he's familiar with Paonia's reputation as a competitive school. Among the sports program's recent successes, in 2012 the wrestling team won its second 2A title, the girls track team claimed the school's first track title, and Carsten took the volleyball team to state for the first time in 22 years. He knew the opportunity to transfer was a good one. "That was one thing I was grateful for," said Shean. "A transition into a school with a winning tradition."
A citizens committee recently unveiled a master plan for an on-campus sports and educational facility. Shean said the prospect for the facility makes his move all the more exciting, and he will support the project in any way he can.
With his coaching skills, Shean was an obvious choice to replace outgoing head baseball coach Drew Potter. Potter also left a strong program behind. In the last two seasons the Eagles played to a 34-12-1 overall and 20-1 Western Slope League record.
"I hope to add a little more to an already great program," said Shean.
He said he eventually hopes to join the football coaching staff but plans to focus this year on learning his new position.
Shean has been married for 10 years and has three children. The oldest two attend Garnet Mesa Elementary School. During summer months he owns and operates Frosty the Sno Shack, a shaved ice business in Delta.
Shean also taught the Pride Ambassador class at DHS and was the high school sports announcer. He said he'd like to do more announcing, but, as with football, that will have to wait.blog comments powered by Disqus