AURORA | With responsibilities mounting, something had to give for Brandon Alconcel, and that turned out to be his job as Rangeview’s head football coach.
Alconcel stepped down from the position he’d held since 2017 and did so three months before the Raiders are to begin play in the spring season along with the other four programs in Aurora Public Schools district due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A new job in Cherry Creek Schools teaching physical education for the district’s Elevation online school and working outside of the APS district presented some difficulties for Alconcel, who departs after going 8-22 over three seasons with Rangeview in his first opportunity as a head coach.
“I made the decision to take another job in the online school and trying to make it work and finding time between my family, my job and Rangeview football, those things didn’t work out the way I wanted them to,” Alconcel told the Sentinel. “I had to choose something.”
Rangeview athletic director Shawn Palmer sent out a letter to parents of football players on Friday evening informing them of the developments. Palmer said it was the school’s “first priority” to find a replacement and that he planned to have a new hire by the end of December.
“I know this year has had many unexpected changes and I appreciate the dedication and flexibility of all of our athletes and their families,” Palmer’s letter read.
Whoever takes over the job will be the fourth new head coach among five APS programs when the season begins in the spring, as the new hire will join Aurora Central (DaVaughn Thornton Sr., story), Gateway (Robb Wetta, story) and Hinkley (T.C. Newland, story). John Sullivan of Vista PEAK is the lone returning coach.
Alconcel played at Colorado State and was a former assistant at Overland when he got hired by former athletic director Vic Strouse to fill the job that was vacated by Justin Hoffman, who made a family move to South Carolina. Alconcel credited Strouse for seeing “something in me to run the program” and he also felt fortunate to share an office and learn from Palmer, the school’s boys basketball coach who had one 5A state championship to his credit and might have won another before the coronavirus hit in March.
With a coaching staff that stayed primarily impact for several seasons and a positive culture in place that he tried to cultivate and maintain, Alconcel is proud of bonds he was able to form in his team at Rangeview.
“Whether it was battling through something or a big time play in a big game, I can tell you from memory every player’s names, their parents and what they are about; those are the things I will remember the most,” he said. “It was my first head gig and you make a few mistakes and you have some successes, but in the end, it really comes down to those relationships you make with staff members, administration and kids.”
On the field, the Raiders played in the Metro 10 conference the last two seasons and finished 4-6 in 2019. The program remains in search of its first postseason berth since 2015 and that could happen in the spring, when Rangeview is one of just 12 teams in 5A in the new alignments recently announced by the Colorado High School Activities Association.
The Raiders had a handful of All-Metro 10 selections and though first teamers Davon Desmond, Braidon Nourse and Anthony Thomas graduated, seconds teamers Jaylen Bennett and Angel Rodriguez were underclassmen. Rangeview also could have back quarterback Reece Berkey, who has started 19 games over two seasons.
Whoever gets the job will find Alconcel willing to share his knowledge.
“For me, it’s not going to be peace out; whoever the coach is I’m going to make sure I get them my information and whatever they need,” Alconcel said. “I want to see the program succeed and I think they are right on the verge.”
Alconcel didn’t miss out on at least some form of coaching, as he served as a game day volunteer coach with Eaglecrest, where former Overland coach Seth Replogle is on the staff. The Raptors’ season came to an end Friday with a 5A state quarterfinal loss to Pomona (recap).
Alconcel said he wasn’t sure when or if he would coach again in the near future.
“Obviously jobs come open and jobs close and you never know when the opportunity presents itself,” he said. “If something comes along, I’m not going to say I’m not going to look into it, but as of right now, I’m not really sure.”
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports