Coaching, as Doherty's Jeff Krumlauf puts it, runs in his veins. He said he jumped at an opportunity to get involved as a junior varsity assistant 12 years ago. Now, early in his fourth season as the head football coach at Doherty, Krumlauf has helped to transform the culture around the program.
Yes, the Spartans are winning more than they ever have before. But his focus is also ensuring that his players "know that we care about them, and our whole purpose is for them to be successful, both on and off the field," Krumlauf said. Last week, Krumlauf's Spartans opened the season with a wild 83-55 win over Rangeview. "We figured if they were going to keep scoring, we should probably do the same," Krumlauf said.
Krumlauf is this week's Denver Broncos High School Coach of the Week. The award is selected in partnership with the Broncos, CHSCA and the InSideOut Coaching Initiative, which seeks to transform the current win-at-all-costs sports culture.
Years as head coach: 4 (23-9 overall)
Years at Doherty: 4 (23-9)
Previous stops: Battle Mountain JV assistant (2005); Battle Mountain special teams coordinator/JV defensive coordinator (2006-07); Battle Mountain defensive coordinator/assistant head coach (2008-11); Doherty defensive coordinator/assistant head coach (2012); Doherty offensive coordinator/assistant head coach (2013); Doherty head coach (2014-present).
Question: Why did you decide to become a coach?
Krumlauf: Honestly, it's in my blood. My dad was a coach at the college level, and when I got the opportunity in Vail at Battle Mountain, I jumped at the opportunity. Through the process, I just love being around the kids, teaching them life lessons, and showing them, through this great game, that a lot of good can come, and all the successes and/or failures that they go through — just like in life.
Q: Is there a reason you coach the way you do?
Krumlauf: When I became a coach, my dad's two cents was, "Just remember all of the coaches you had over the years, and remember the good, and remember the bad, and become your own." Over the last 10 or 11 years, or however long I've been coaching, I think that's really what I've been trying to focus on. Remembering how those really good coaches got the best out of athletes, and also remembering the stuff that, as an athlete, I didn't care for too much. And also taking stuff from the coaches on my staff that have really, really made me a better coach and help this program get to where it's at now.
Q: What would you say it's like to be coached by you?
Krumlauf: I hope the kids would say fair, that we hold them accountable, and that we want the best out of them. Hopefully they know that we care about them, and our whole purpose is for them to be successful, both on and off the field. And that we really do demand the best effort and attitude that they can bring to the table, because that's the one thing that they can control.
Q: Is there a favorite memory, or moment, you have as a coach?
Krumlauf: You know what? Moments just like yesterday, just being on the (practice) field with the guys. Even though they can give you a hard time, or you're not having the best practice, but just being around the boys and being around the coaches and all of us working toward that common goal of improving every day, those are the best memories. People might be like, "Is there a win or a loss?" For whatever reason, you always remember the losses more than the wins, but it's just the entire journey with the coaching staff and my players that I just absolutely love.
Q: Take me through last week, and what that was like. That must've been a five-and-a-half-hour game, or at least felt like it.
Krumlauf: (Laughs) Yeah, that is not how we envisioned that game going. But we figured if they were going to keep scoring, we should probably do the same. You've got to give Rangeview credit, their quarterback and wide receiver, they were having a night. It's almost like they were 99 on Madden, and every throw and every catch was just occurring. Even on film, our guys were in pretty good position to make a play. It was just, literally, inches away from them not completing those passes or scoring those touchdowns. It was definitely interesting. We jumped out early, and things were rolling, but at the same time, I think we all got humbled pretty quick, in terms of, people aren't going to quit just because you're up. My high school came back from a 42-point deficit just last week and ended up winning the game. And I told the guys that. It doesn't matter who you're playing, good programs like Rangeview — or anybody else that we're going to play — they're going to play you until that clock hits zero, even if it takes four or five hours. It was definitely crazy, that's for sure.
Q: What was your offseason like? I know the way it ended (just barely missing the playoffs) wasn't at all how you wanted it to. I know you guys wanted that shot. So what was the offseason like?
Krumlauf: Honestly, it wasn't much different in what we do in every offseason, except for there were just a few more reminders of, "Hey, we had a great year, but formula or no formula, you win your league and you're in. If you do the right things and you put yourself in position to take care of business every week, and you go 1-0 every week, then you're in." Our whole focus was just improving, on the little things, working hard in the weight room, making sure we were accountable all summer to each other, and just knowing that if we focus on the stuff that we can control, and we do things the right way, then nine times out of 10, the results take care of themselves.