Basalt athletic director resigns
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
BASALT ” Forrest Grosh is heading home.
The Basalt High School athletic director, physical education teacher and head football coach recently resigned after five years at the school and 11 in Colorado. Grosh said Tuesday that the cost of living and the desire to be closer to his family in Pennsylvania were the driving forces behind his decision.
“I could’ve easily stayed in Basalt for one or two more years, but I tried to look at things long term and be realistic with myself,” Grosh said. “I thought long and hard and decided the best thing for me was to move on.”
In May 2007, Grosh replaced former athletic director Mike Green, who left to lead the sports department and take an assistant principal position at Rifle High School. Basalt principal Jim Waddick told The Aspen Times last year that Grosh seemed to be the “perfect fit.”
Grosh was initially hesitant to accept the position. He labored for two weeks and discussed the matter with his father, a retired teacher whose 33 years of experience included a brief stint as an athletic director.
The 32-year-old worried that he would struggle to fulfill his duties as an administrator, teacher and coach. And the financial incentive was minimal; because the Roaring Fork School District considers athletic director a part-time position, those holding the title receive little more than a small stipend.
Less than one year later, as initial concerns lingered and thoughts about his future became paramount, Grosh figured a change was best.
“I’m not 100 percent sure I enjoyed every minute of it, but I think it was a great opportunity,” Grosh said. “I wanted to give it a chance and see if I liked it. And it was an opportunity to help the school out.”
Waddick, who is retiring after eight years as principal, lauded Grosh’s efforts.
“There was a time when he first started that he wasn’t quite ready, but he stepped up to the challenge and did a really nice job,” Waddick said. “It takes a lot of time and a lot of energy. … This is the toughest job in the school.
“I would’ve liked to see him stay longer. … Decisions about economics, having a family and owning a home start to become more pressing over time.”
Grosh said he’s been thinking about making a change for the past few months. He recently divulged his plans to the administration and to a group of upperclassmen, many of whom he taught for four years.
“I’m an emotional person, so it was a hard thing for me to come to the point of turning in that resignation and physically going and telling the kids,” he said. “I broke down and started crying. I had a hard time telling them. They mean so much to me.
“I enjoy coaching and teaching. I enjoyed my five years here. The parents, players and coaches I’ve been involved with have been my family the last five years.”
While Grosh’s move might have come as a surprise to most, friend Carl Frerichs said Tuesday that he knew Grosh was contemplating a change.
The two have been close since meeting at Colorado State University. Both majored in health and exercise science and coached basketball and football at Lincoln Junior High School in Fort Collins. When Grosh applied for and received a job as physical education teacher and head football coach in Basalt in 2003, he invited Frerichs and fellow classmate Rob Hurley ” now the school’s rugby coach ” to follow him to the Roaring Fork Valley.
Frerichs will follow Grosh once more when he soon takes the reins of the Longhorns football program.
At a time when the school is experiencing administrative turnover, Grosh said he is grateful that Frerichs will maintain some stability.
“Giving Carl the opportunity to follow in my footsteps is a good thing for these boys,” Grosh said. “He’s a passionate person and will give everything he has to this program.
“I’m going to miss the boys and getting prepared for Friday nights. … But they’ll be in good hands.”
The appointment was bittersweet, Frerichs said.
“I’d definitely rather have Forrest stay than leave, but I’m excited to have the opportunity,” he added. “He is a great role model for kids, which is the most important thing.”
As of Tuesday, no faculty members had expressed interest in the athletic director vacancy, Waddick said. Incoming principal Kevin Schott ultimately will choose Grosh’s successor.
While he hasn’t taken an active role in the search, Grosh did offer some advice to his future replacement.
“I wouldn’t say I was overwhelmed, but I can say I had a full plate,” Gross said. “It is a handful to keep parents happy, coaches happy and players happy. You have to be willing to take on and wear many different hats.”
As to what he’ll do next, Grosh said he’ll take a one-year break from teaching. He plans to take classes to earn a master’s degree, then he will evaluate his options.
While his lease runs out June 1, Grosh expects to be in the valley until the middle of the summer. Then, he’ll head back to Pennsylvania.
While he’s looking forward to a change ” something he called “a new adventure” ” Grosh said he won’t ever be able to leave Basalt behind.
“I joked to a few people that if I won the Powerball, or get half a million dollars, I’d probably be right back here,” Grosh said. “This is a great place to live. It’s hard to beat, but I don’t want to try to beat it.
“I’m sad and a little torn, but, at the same time, I’m looking at this as an exciting new chapter.”
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