AURORA | Aurora Central High School let go of head football coach Taylor Calvert last week after three seasons.
The Trojans finished 2-8 overall in the 2014 season when it dropped back into Class 4A after several seasons at the 5A level and posted a 1-4 mark in the newly-formed and challenging Mountain League.
Calvert — whose brother Ian coaches the boys basketball team at Aurora Central — finished 2-8 in all three seasons since taking over for Wade Scott, who finished 1-9 in 2011. Calvert felt he had created some momentum, as all eight of his seniors in the class of 2013 went on to college, many of them with scholarships to play.
“It’s obviously not something I wanted to happen; it’s not something you ever expect, especially after having your banquet and selling your parents and kids on next season,” Calvert said Monday. “It was kindof out of left field, but I’m not angry by any means. I just feel bad for that freshman class that I got when I was hired that won’t get to finish it with me and there are some things professionally I would have liked to have done.”
In the recently completed 2014 season, the Trojans posted wins over Thornton and George Washington and had two more chances to win, but lost to Harrison by six points and Adams City by three points.
New Aurora Central athletic director Dan Lliteras, who took over the job in the fall, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
The Aurora Central job is the first city football job to come open since the end of the season, although Smoky Hill is also expected to look for a head coach after athletic director Preston Davis fired coach Justin Hoffman on the eve of fall practice and served as interim head coach during the season.
Though the wins didn’t pile up, Calvert felt great about the type of impact he made on the Aurora Central program from many standpoints, as he righted many things gone wrong in a program that he said was “in shambles” when he took over.
From an organizational standpoint, he took pride in ordering new uniforms and pads and did what he could to get offseason participation to a level on par with other programs in the area. Calvert also took pride in the academic improvement in players such as senior Jevin Jordan — an All-Mountain League selection at both running back and linebacker in 2014 — which has opened future doors.
“I was there for three seasons and over a dozen of my kids will end up going into college to play football and pursue their education,” he said. “I had almost 20 all-league players in that time and changed the mentality of that football program. There are some kids that probably would be in the street if it wasn’t for me getting them headed in the right direction. …I feel strongly about leaving the program in a much better spot and giving kids a chance to better their lives.”
Former Aurora Central standout running back Jeff Tootle is on the roster at Colorado Mesa University as a redshirt freshman, 2013 graduates Levi Watson and Jaron Kellem are at Istaca Community College in Minnesota, Taj Johnson is at Sterling College in Kansas and Demetrius Jones at Augustana College in Illinois.
Calvert said he is still working on helping this year’s group of seniors — including the highly-regarded Jordan, all-league second teamer Juan Frairie and skill players Darius Frimpong and Devonte Phillips — find places to play in college. All-Mountain League first team defender Mike Retland and quarterback Austin Alvarez also may have chances to play in college in the future.
“My door is always open; I’m not one of those guys that walks away from a program and is totally gone,” Calvert said. “Those are my kids and I will do anything I can for those guys. The sophomores and juniors, I will do anything for them and they know that.”
Calvert hopes to catch on locally with another high school program as a coordinator when head coaching jobs are filled prior to next season, but has also had some college programs interested in him as a position coach. Wherever he ends up, Calvert is grateful for his time at Aurora Central.
“A huge shout out to the school and the community for giving me the opportunity,” he said.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
TAYLOR CALVERT YEAR-BY-YEAR RECORD AT AURORA CENTRAL
2014: 2-8 (missed Class 4A playoffs); 2013: 2-8 (missed Class 5A playoffs); 2012: 2-8 (missed Class 5A playoffs)