James Aldridge, wife Lindsey, take over Aspen High School girls basketball
James Aldridge hopes to bring a culture change to the Aspen High School girls basketball team, a program in dire need of a makeover.
“I want to be competitive. I want to be a threat,” Aldridge said. “Not to shun anything that’s happened in the past, but I would like to command a bit more respect when people come out and play us.”
Aldridge, along with his wife, Lindsey, has taken over as the head coach for the AHS girls this winter, replacing Greg Peterson, who was let go after three seasons.
The program’s lack of success goes back years, a 10-12 season in 2011-12 the only time it has reached double-digit wins since 2006-07, when MaxPreps started recording yearly stats. Aspen went 1-19 each of the past four seasons, and won only two games each in the two seasons prior.
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The Aldridges plan to keep things simple this season.
“This will be a fun endeavor,” James Aldridge said. “I want to simplify. That is our whole intent, to simplify. We just want to make sure the kids understand what they are doing and why they are doing it. And really get them to up their level with mental toughness.”
A former football player at Notre Dame, Aldridge has called the Roaring Fork Valley home for about seven years. Along with being an important piece of the Gentlemen of Aspen Rugby Club, Aldridge has been an assistant coach in some fashion for a multitude of AHS sports, and currently is the head coach for the Aspen track and field team in the spring.
Neither he nor his wife have much experience playing or coaching basketball past the high school level, but it’s a sport both grew up playing, including at the competitive AAU level.
“I’ve been around some pretty high-level players. I was used to seeing 6-foot-6 point guards growing up,” James Aldridge said. “With the relationship we have with the community and what I’ve been doing thus far and coaching in whatever respect, I just want to apply it in a different format. It’s the same principle, same characteristics I’m trying to coach, it’s just on a different platform.”
Aldridge had originally planned to assist with the AHS boys basketball team this season, coached by Alex Schrempf, but out on a hike the idea came to mind for he and his wife to instead coach the girls.
Last year’s roster did not include a single senior, so the players they are inheriting this winter will have plenty of varsity experience. The Skiers will get their first chance to see where they stand when they open the season Nov. 29 at a tournament hosted by Meeker.
“We are going to pride ourselves on defense and doing the little things right,” James Aldridge said. “When it’s all said and done, it’s what you can verbally deliver to a kid to make them tick.”
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