AURORA | Taylor Calvert spent last season working under one former Gateway head football coach in Justin Hoffman and now the Aurora coaching veteran has his own shot with the Olys.
Gateway hired Calvert — an assistant under Hoffman at Rangeview last season — to be its new head coach Thursday and he is anxious to get started.
Calvert is very familiar with the area as a former head coach at Aurora Central and with his time at Rangeview, which he feels gives him a chance to hit the ground running as he works towards the fast-approaching 2017 season.
“I’m fired up and I couldn’t be more excited to have this opportunity,” Calvert told the Sentinel a few hours before he was to meet with returning Gateway players for the first time.
“We’re a good bit behind because of the time of year, but we’re going to make it happen,” he added. “I have a full staff ready to go, with a lot of guys I had over at Central, and we’re all on the same page. Being around, I’m very familiar with the school and I still have a great relationship with youth coaches in the area, so it makes things a little bit easier.”
Calvert is the latest in a wave of new football coaches in Aurora ahead of the 2017 season. He joins Joe Johnson at Cherokee Trail (story), Steve Sewell at Overland (story) and Brandon Alconcel at Rangeview (story) as new hires in the local ranks. Anconcel replaced Hoffman, who stepped down and will move to South Carolina at the end of the school year.
Gateway decided to go a different direction after three seasons under Shane Ward, who had a 5-25 mark.
Last season, the Olys dropped down to 4A and finished 2-8 overall and 1-4 in its first season in the Plains League, where the Olys will remain in 2017 with the likes of Chatfield, Dakota Ridge, Heritage, Adams City and Golden.
Calvert is looking forward to the challenge and said he took away plenty in his three seasons as head coach at Aurora Central from 2012-14, when he had a 6-24 record before he was fired.
“Being fired wasn’t great for me, but besides that, the whole time at Central was a learning experience,” Calvert said. “I learned that I didn’t need to value wins and losses like I did putting those kids in school. We put 19 kids in college football who are still playing right now. The thing I learned most was building relationships with kids and getting them where they want to be.”
As for on the field talent, Calvert has excited with what he came across when doing film study of Gateway last season.
“The potential at Gateway is almost untapped,” he said. “They have athletes all over the place, they had a couple of guys behind center and some young kids up front on both sides of the ball. We’ll coach them up and I think the potential is absolutely crazy. I definitely believe they should have won more than two games last season.”
Three All-Plains League performers are expected to return in running back Kevin Traylor Jr. — the Olys only first team selection — along with quarterback Xavier Delk and wide receiver Ajonte Manlove.
Gateway’s schedule will be the same as it was last season and Calvert is particularly eager for the Olys two games against other Aurora Public Schools programs in Vista PEAK and of course, Rangeview.
Calvert was on the winning side in the annual Anvil game last season between Rangeview and Gateway and now he’ll try to reverse a trend that has seen the Raiders claim the traveling trophy for the past eight straight seasons.
“I’ll definitely bring some juice to the Anvil game,” he said wryly.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel