The largest high school in Colorado has hired the most high-profile, as well as one of the most successful, football coaches in the state.
In a pairing that has been expected for the past two weeks, Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village, Colo.)
officially announced Thursday night that former Mullen (Denver) coach Dave Logan will take over its football program. The school held a news conference immediately after Bruins players and parents were informed of the move and had the opportunity to meet Logan.
"I know our boys downstairs were very excited to have him introduced as our coach, as well as our parents and some of the staff members who were there, too," Cherry Creek principal Ryan Silva said. "We feel very fortunate to get a man to work with our kids who is of great integrity, class, and who is going to be a role model for our kids. He's going to be an outstanding addition to the Cherry Creek family."Logan was dismissed from Mullen on Jan. 11
, and speculation began immediately about where the coach with six state championships (and three runner-up finishes) would land next. Cherry Creek topped the list of possible schools, but the Bruins had a successful coach at the time.
Once Mike Brookhart, who also is the head boys basketball coach at Cherry Creek, stepped down from the football job Jan. 18, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Logan would be his successor. The position was posted for all of three days last week, closing on Jan. 20.
"Coach Brookhart and I are great friends. We have talked almost on a weekly basis for probably the last three or four years," said Logan, who decided to take the job Wednesday. "We have kidded about this, we've had flippant conversations about this, we've had serious conversations about this, that if the opportunity ever presented itself ... With Mike's blessing, this just kind of evolved. Without him being a part of this, I wouldn't be standing here."
Logan, who has a career record of 201-43 that includes state titles at Arvada West and Chatfield (Littleton, Colo.) and four championships at Mullen, was appreciative of the opportunity to have a new program to lead. His teams have reached the postseason in 17 of his 19 seasons.
Cherry Creek, which serves more than 3,500 students, has a storied football tradition. The Bruins have won eight big-school state titles, the last coming in 1996, when they capped a run of three straight.
Overall, Cherry Creek won five championships in the 1990s and had back-to-back runner-up finishes (1998 and 1999) during that span. Of late, the Bruins played in the 2004 and 2008 title games, both times losing to Logan and Mullen.
“I’m really aware of the history of the program and the people involved,” said Logan, specifically mentioning legendary coach Fred Tesone, who led the Bruins for 27 years. “It has been a first-class program and school for a long, long time. When I started coaching back in ’93 at Arvada West this was the program that we wanted to emulate, because this was the program on top.”
Logan, who has lived in the area for several years only 10 minutes from the school, said he has not yet decided on a staff, but stated that not all of his coaches from Mullen will be joining him at Cherry Creek. He also intends to reach out to all of the current Bruins assistants.
"There are coaches in this building who have played an important role in this program for a long time, and I'm going to talk to every single one of them," Logan said. "Then I will do the best I can to formulate a staff that will kind of be blended."
Adding some intrigue to the mix is that Mullen and Cherry Creek have long comprised one of the best rivalries in the state. It has cooled a bit recently, though, because the schools no longer compete in the same league in Class 5A football – Mullen now is in the Super 6 and Cherry Creek in the Creek League - and they will not meet this season unless it's in the playoffs. In nearly all other sports, the schools are part of the Centennial League.
Logan's firing and hiring completes a whirlwind two-week stretch in local prep sports that even Colorado High School Activities Association Commissioner Paul Angelico felt compelled to address last week at the governing body's annual legislative meeting.
Angelico said it was a "terrible time" in high school sports because of "adult-driven stuff that has nothing to do with high school sports", referencing the Mullen situation specifically.
Logan's heavily publicized ouster at Mullen generated protests from disappointed players, students, parents and alumni, which included demands for his reinstatement, as well as the dismissal of top school officials.
Mullen administrators said Logan was relieved of his duties because it wanted a full-time staff member as its head coach and expressed concern that he had become the public face of the school. (Logan is the radio voice of the Denver Broncos and hosts a daily show on KOA 850-AM.) A week later, Mullen self-reported recruiting violations to the CHSAA that occurred last year, although Logan was not directly implicated.
Logan said he was amazed by how big the story of his coaching status became, which included front-page headlines and leading local TV newscasts, but understood as a member of the media.
"This is just high school football. There are a lot of other things that are a lot more important than what's been going on," Logan said. "Frankly, I'm a little uncomfortable because for other high school coaches, you don't have a press conference."
With the Cherry Creek position filled, known 5A openings remain at Arvada West and Mullen. Mullen has indicated it is conducting a nationwide search. Overland (Aurora, Colo.) recently filled its top spot when it hired Seth Replogle, who previously coached at The Academy.