AURORA | Chris Dixon didn’t have plans to be the head football coach at just any high school.
But when the job opened up at Rangeview — which Dixon was very familiar with given his work as a student liasion at nearby Columbia Middle School — it immediately caught his eye.
Soon, it became a reality for Dixon, who has been hired to take the job according to Rangeview administration. The 40-year-old fills the position vacated by Mike Holmes, who stepped down in November after less than a calendar year, which included two football seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic (story, here).
“It’s still surreal to me, I’m really excited,” Dixon told the Sentinel Friday. “I haven’t slept in a couple of days. I’ve been approached (about head coaching jobs) several times, but the Rangeview job was the perfect fit and I had that itch. I read the news (of Holmes’ departure), saw the job posting and it was one job with my ties to the community.
“I’m a Raider and I plan to be there and provide stability.”
Stability is something the Rangeview position hasn’t had of late due to a variety of reasons.
After Dave Gonzales was dismissed in 2014 after 12 successful seasons (during which he led the Raiders to a 68-54 record), the program has seen three coaches — Justin Hoffman, Brandon Alconcel and Holmes — while Dixon will be the third in a four-season span.
“I don’t think it’s good for these kids to have three coaches in four years,” said Dixon, who follows Holmes, who had a 6-10 record between the spring and fall seasons before stepping down to spend more time with his family.
While Dixon hasn’t been a head coach before, he has been on staff with both Eaglecrest and Overland locally — and also lists Bear Creek as a coaching stop — and is very familiar with the area.
That’s part of what made him the best candidate according to Rangeview athletic director Shawn Palmer.
“Chris has been a key member of the Rangeview and Aurora Football Community for some time,” Palmer said in a statement to the Sentinel. “We are excited to enter a new era of leadership for Rangeview Football as Chris becomes our new Head Football Coach.”
Because of his time at Columbia, Dixon is in-tune with the talent that is currently in the program and he also knows that many potential players who did not come out previously, plan to join the team now that he has the job.
“I’ve gotten a ton of phone calls and text messages from players who are ready to come out,” he said. “The biggest thing is develop the rapport with the youth. We’re trying to keep the talent that is in APS here and not going to other districts.
Dixon grew up in Mississippi and played multiple sports before he earned a scholarship to play at the University of Wyoming. A defensive back, he snared five interceptions in 2003 — which puts him a tie for third on the Cowboys’ single season list — and was an honorable mention All-Mountain West Conference performer.
Dixon becomes the third hire among Aurora programs ahead of the 2022 season, as he joined Mike Schmitt — who returned to Eaglecrest after coaching in Pennsylvania (story, here) — and Justin Jajczyk, who was promoted from assistant to head coach at Cherokee Trail (story, here) to replace Joe Johnson, who stepped down after the season.
Hinkley will also have a new coach once it begins the process to replace the late T.C. Newland.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at email@example.com. Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports