After 13 years at Mountain Range High School, Karl Buck has the opportunity to serve as an athletic director for the first time when he was hired at Overland High School ahead of the 2019-20 school year. He takes over for Ryan Knorr, who left for the AD job at Durango High School after three years leading the Trailblazers. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

As a longtime assistant boys basketball coach at Mountain Range, Karl Buck always had admiration for what Danny Fisher has done with the Overland boys basketball program since he took over in 2013.

Buck will get a chance to see what the coach that brought back-to-back Class 5A state championships to the Aurora school in 2015 and 2016 is like up close after he was hired as Overland’s new athletic director.

Fisher’s basketball program is one of the many things Buck is looking forward to getting to know better as he departs Mountain Range after a 13-year stint and tries to take over where outgoing athletic director Ryan Knorr left off.

“When I was coaching basketball, I always admired Coach Fisher and his program afar; now I get to work with him,” Buck told the Sentinel. “The job he’s done is incredible. Just watching him interact with his guys and how they play hard-nosed, tough defense and play for each other is a reflection of him. We have some great coaches at Overland that I haven’t had a chance to meet yet, so I’m excited to reach out to them and get to know them and their programs.”

Buck has the remainder of the summer to get up to speed with his new school and get settled into a role he’s really been motivated to take on in the last five years. The Skyview High School graduate opened Mountain Range and spent more than a decade there in a variety of capacities, including basketball assistant and head coach for both the boys and girls tennis teams.

When the Overland job opened up with Knorr’s departure to fill the same job at Durango High School, Buck jumped at the opportunity to take on a role he had been preparing for in recent years at a place that got rave reviews from a friend who works as a teacher.

“You walk the hallways here and you look around at all the history, so it’s really an honor that they are taking a chance on me and letting me take on this role,” Buck said. “They took a chance on hiring me and bringing me along, so I definitely want to pay that back to them and the community. I foresee myself being an athletic director until its time to hang them up or they tell me to go, especially here. I’m going to work as hard as I can for them.”

Knorr accomplished a lot in three years and Buck hopes to keep that momentum going, especially when it comes to fostering camaraderie in the coaching staff and a family-like atmosphere between athletes in all sports.

Aside from the good impressions of the existing coaching staff — including interim head football coach DaVaughn Thornton Sr. — Buck has been charmed by the Overland campus, which was upgraded last year when a softball field was built on a former practice field. Currently, school’s gym floor and weight rooms are being refinished, the warning track on Tony Schenbeck Field across the street is in the process of refurbishment and a turf football field is in the offing.

“As an AD you come in and immediately start putting together a wish list, but you know in public education, you have to be prudent and you have to understand you can’t have everything you want all at once,” Buck said. “Fortunately, this district seems willing to help as much as possible and the community supports it. If we do our job fundraising as an athletic department, we can help implement the facility changes we need.”

Buck is eager to get going in the fall and he is looking forward to meeting the challenges of running an athletic program that competes in the rugged Centennial League along with Aurora powers Cherokee Trail, Eaglecrest, Grandview and Smoky Hill along with Arapahoe, Cherry Creek and Mullen.

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports