AHS’s Sams is 3A AD of year
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – Carol Sams did her best to hide behind her sunglasses Saturday at Aspen High.
But when Bill Moriarty took the press box microphone and announced that she had been named Colorado’s 3A athletic director of the year, the perpetually humble Sams reluctantly grinned and acknowledged the crowd.
Later, she even shed a few tears.
“I was really excited. It was a nice honor,” Sams said, “but I know everyone works hard.”
Sams has been involved in Aspen sports since 1989, and many say this award was a long time coming. Aspen girls soccer coach John Gillies, who was Sams’ first coaching hire, thinks she should win it every year.
“She should get a sainthood, not just athletic director of the year,” Gillies added. “I’ve never know anyone who is so dedicated to her work.”
One can expect to see Sams at nearly every home game, standing on the sidelines conversing with athletic trainer Zach Stutzman and any parent or player who approaches her.
“She gives so much to the kids, and it’s a piece of cake working for her,” Stutzman said. “When your boss is someone who works so hard, you find yourself wanting to do better. She inspires the whole group around her.”
But what sets Sams apart, according to senior lacrosse player Olivia Porcaro, is seeing her at away games – even places as far as Grand Junction.
“It shows she really does care,” Porcaro said. “It’s really amazing what she does for us.”
According to Ci Beasley, a front-office employee at Aspen High School, Sams is constantly performing under-the-radar tasks throughout the day, something she’s been doing since taking the position in 1998.
Sams is quick to give all credit to the students, many of whom are multisport athletes, and faculty and staff for continued support.
“The door is always open to the kids,” Stutzman said. “That’s why she has to come into work at 6 in the morning, because people like us won’t leave her alone.”
Added Porcaro: “Carol is definitely someone you can talk to whenever you need to. She’s really easy to find, and she’s so enthusiastic about sports because she knows we’re into it.”
Sams joked that she has no plans to move on just yet – at least until she finds something else to do.
Until then, Porcaro and Stutzman said they’re proud to have the state’s top 3A athletic director, and believe that what she has done for Western Slope athletics is immeasurable.
“It reflects well on us,” Porcaro said. “What she does through our sports team, other schools are noticing and the state is noticing. I’m really happy for her.”
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Winter sports practices were officially allowed to begin last week, Jan. 18, after the Colorado High School Activities Association was given a variance from the state’s health officials. Games were allowed to be played starting this week.