Political gadfly puts in for coach | AspenTimes.com

Political gadfly puts in for coach

John Colson

Aspen, CO ColoradoASPEN Andrew Kole, a frequent and unsuccessful candidate in local political contests, playwright, and former high school girls basketball coach, has applied to replace Aspen High School football coach Travis Benson.This week was the deadline for applicants. The job came open in December when Benson resigned after Superintendent Diana Sirko suggested bringing in her husband, respected Colorado Springs high school football coach Mike Sirko, to “mentor” Benson and his staff.As part of the deal, it was suggested that Benson consider stepping down as head coach for an undetermined amount of time. He refused and quit instead.The popular two-year coach built a gridiron record that surpassed any other since the sport returned to Aspen High School less than a decade ago, and his departure angered many teachers, students and parents.Attempts to reach Sirko and athletic director Carol Sams were not successful Wednesday evening, and it could not be determined who else has applied for Benson’s post. Kole said, “They had six or seven applications.”Diana Sirko had said at one point, after controversy erupted in the wake of Benson’s resignation, that her husband might apply for the job through “regular channels.”Kole said he hand-delivered his application to the district office because the district’s computer system was down for the day and e-mails were not getting through.”I wouldn’t exactly say they were joyful,” Kole said of the moment when he handed his application to district staffer Ginny Haberman.”I didn’t like the way they handled Benson’s deal,” Kole said. Also, he said, he had not heard of anyone applying for the post other than Mike Sirko, and “I didn’t want him to be the only one to apply.”Kole admitted, “I don’t know if I’m the most qualified, but I’m not sure if anyone else applying knows more about football than I do.” Kole said he has coached children in league football and has a winning record in fantasy football leagues.”Basically, you need a good staff,” he said. “I’d certainly welcome Mike Sirko [as an assistant coach] if he were available” and would “love to talk Travis Benson into coming back.”Kole said he was “dead serious” about applying for the post, adding, “All I want is an interview.”He said he was told that a committee consisting of Sams, an unnamed teacher, an unnamed parent and perhaps an administrator would begin interviews would begin next week.John Colson’s e-mail address is jcolson@aspentimes.com


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