AURORA | At just 32 years old, Austin Able has been around a whole lot of Colorado prep football programs as he’s bided his time until he could become a head coach.
That time has arrived, as Able is the new head football coach at Aurora Central.
Athletic director Rob Harrison introduced Able to returning players Thursday, though he’s not an entirely new face as he’s been in the building for the last two years as a teacher and took over the wrestling program this winter.
“This is the third year I’ve really been looking for a head coaching job and this really was a perfect fit,” Able told the Sentinel. “I’ve been teaching here for two years, so I know a lot of the kids and I got this job because of the connections I’ve had in the building.”
Able takes over for Jamarr Kerney, who finished 6-14 over the past two seasons with the Trojans.
Next season will be a completely new landscape for Aurora Central, which drops from Class 5A to 4A — where it went 8-3 with a state playoff appearance in the 2015 season — and Able feels he is ready to take advantage of the clean slate.
Able has had assistant coaching experiences at Overland (under former Trailblazers coach Seth Replogle), Chaparral, Lutheran and most recently at Cherry Creek, where he worked under longtime Colorado football coaching legend Dave Logan.
“I’ve had the privilege of being coached by a lot of great coaches and coached with a lot of great coaches,” Able said. “I know it seems like I’ve been jumping around from place to place, but it’s all been part of the plan for me to become the best coach I can possibly be.”
Able also played for Logan as a tight end at Mullen High School in the early 2000s before he went on to play at Colorado Mesa. Last season with the Bruins proved quite impactful on him being around Logan from a different perspective.
“Coach Logan and his whole staff was amazing; I learned so much from him,” Able said. “You learn that he’s a winner because he puts the kids first all the time, nothing else matters. When I was a player, you knew that was who he was, but you didn’t realize to what extent until you are behind closed doors.”
Harrison came to Colorado just recently from Arizona, but quickly became familiar with Logan’s legacy.
He was certainly impressed by the glowing endorsement Able received from Logan.
“Austin comes from good football stock,” Harrison said. “Coach Logan couldn’t say anything but good things about him…We’re excited to have him. Obviously it’s his first time behind a head coach for a big program and we know it’s going to be a big responsibility for him, but he lives and breathes football and is really jazzed to lead his own program.”
Able believes he will have some talented athletes returning next season and most definitely a reliable senior class that includes leaders such as Michael Thompson (a first team All-Mount Antero League linebacker in 2017), second team all-league offensive lineman Thaddeus Veasley and Adonis Cannon.
Even in the midst of a difficult season in terms of wins and losses, Kerney and Aurora Central players were out reading to elementary school kids and improving the community, the value of which is not lost on Able.
“Coach Kerney did a great job with these kids; he got them out in the community and doing a lot of great things,” Able said. “A lot of these senior kids are the way they are because of his leadership and the things he did for them.
“All credit to him for that.”
Able is ready to put together all the things he has gathered from his previous coaching stops, meld them with the kids-first philosophy and use the returning leadership in the hopes of establishing something lasting.
“I’m excited, we have a lot of good kids and we can build this thing,” he said.
Note: Aurora now has two known coaching openings remaining. Eaglecrest is searching to replace Mike Schmitt, who led the Raptors to the 5A state championship game and will take applications through Dec. 21, while Smoky Hill’s job is open until Jan. 5, 2018. Both jobs are listed on the Cherry Creek Schools website.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel