Glenwood Springs High School football names Tory Jensen as next head coach |

Glenwood Springs High School football names Tory Jensen as next head coach

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Tory “Thor” Jensen is the new head football coach at Glenwood Springs High School.
Courtesy photo

Longtime Roaring Fork Valley youth and prep football coach Tory “Thor” Jensen has been named the next head coach of the Glenwood Springs High School football program.

Jensen, who coached Roaring Fork High School to a string of Class 2A playoff runs in the mid-2000s, was an assistant under former Demons’ coach Rocky Whitworth until the 2016-17 season.

He stepped away during his son John Jensen’s senior year playing for Glenwood Springs.

But his coaching career has been a long one, dating back to 1991. He also owned and operated Thor’s Grill restaurant in Glenwood Meadows for several years, using that vehicle to give generously to youth sports programs in the area.

Jensen was instrumental in helping rebuild several area high school football programs in the late 1990s and early 2000s through his involvement with a popular pee-wee/youth football league that operated for several years.

The Glenwood Springs, Roaring Fork and Basalt programs — which had been combined into a single team at one point in the late 1990s due to lagging player numbers — all made a comeback individually.

Jensen took the helm of Roaring Fork, leading the Rams to a string of successful seasons.

“At Roaring Fork, we went through a serious rebuilding process and got the program back where it needed to go, and we were able to ride that wave for a long time,” Jensen said Saturday after a busy day coordinating a charity golf tournament for the Roaring Fork Sports Foundation, which he is now involved with.

Jensen replaces Glenwood Springs coach Pat Engle, who led the Demons for four seasons and is planning to return to classroom teaching.

Tory Jensen during his days as head coach of the Roaring Fork High School football program.
Glenwood Springs High School courtesy photo

“The huge benefit of being at Glenwood right now is there are 1,000 kids in the school, and there’s a good foundation to work with,” Jensen said. “I’m super excited and looking forward to getting out there and recruiting some more kids to come out for football and realize it’s the greatest sport.”

GSHS Athletic Director Craig Denney said the school had several top candidates for the job, including from outside the area. But the area’s high cost of living proved difficult in convincing them to relocate, he said.

“I’ve known Tory for 25 years, and we’re lucky he put his name in the hat,” Denney said. “He’s excited to be back into coaching. He’s a great coach and is great for the kids.”

Denney added that he had hoped to pair the coaching job with one of the many teaching positions that are open at GSHS, but couldn’t find the right match to accomplish that goal.

“We’d love to have all of our coaches in the building, if we could, especially with a big program like football,” he said. “The great thing about Tory is he has a great sense of what’s going on with the kids, and he’s always been a great communicator with young people. He’s able to see a bigger picture of what a sport is able to bring to the kids, and then to a school and to a community.”

Jensen said he hopes to take the Demons program to the next level in the tough 3A ranks.

“Pat has done such an amazing job building those relationships with the kids and getting them in the weight room. Now my job is to work with the talent we already have, build the numbers and get them fired up so we can compete with the Durangos and the Palisades,” he said of two Western Slope programs that have dominated for several years running.

A strong network of alumni coaches on the Western Slope also lured him back to the sidelines, he said.

“We’ve had a chance to really kind of reconnect and hang out together and talk about the impact coaching brings to our lives,” Jensen said. “That really helped drive me back into wanting to coach, because it’s those relationships and the impact you have on young men’s lives to try to help them be better.”