AURORA | The Rangeview football program has gone with a very familiar face with the hiring of Justin Hoffman as its new head football coach.
Athletic director Vic Strouse announced to the school on Wednesday that the school had hired Hoffman — who spent 16 seasons at the Raiders’ biggest rival, Gateway — before moving over to Smoky Hill for the 2013 season.
Hoffman spent some time as a volunteer assistant coach last season at Rangeview under former coach Dave Gonzales, who was dismissed after 12 seasons just prior to winter break. Hoffman said he interviewed twice last week and spent an anxious weekend waiting until he got the good news Wednesday morning.
“I’m exhilarated and anxious, just ready to get going,” Hoffman said shortly after the news of his hire broke.
“I’m Aurora guy and my grandfather helped build this city, so it’s certainly nice to be part of the original Aurora and be part of Aurora Public Schools again,” the Aurora Central graduate continued. “Hopefully, I’ll finish out my career as football coach at Rangeview High School and be able to retire there. That’s the goal.”
Hoffman takes over a program that was run very well by Gonzales, who posted a 68-54 record in his 12 seasons — including 7-3 in 2014 — went to the postseason in 10 of those years and is working on a streak of five consecutive league championships.
The hiring of Hoffman fills the fourth of four known openings at Aurora prep football programs, following Aurora Central’s hiring of Travis Peeples, Vista PEAK’s tabbing of John Sullivan and Smoky Hill’s hiring of John Trahan last week.
Hoffman has long been a part of the rivalry between Rangeview and Gateway and helped introduce the Anvil traveling trophy to the contest between the teams along with Gonzales seven years ago. He has also long been a part of the Hog Wars strength and teamwork competition over the summer, a tradition started by Gonzales a decade ago, and plans to keep those things in place going forward.
“I can’t say enough about Dave and the way he ran this program; he did it with class and it was top notch,” Hoffman said. “We want to continue those traditions that he started and build on them.”
The Raiders ran into difficulty in the postseason, however, as they finished 2-9 in their 10 trips to the playoffs.
Hoffman was part of coaching staffs that won some playoff games at Gateway, but he knows the challenge of winning in the postseason a head coach. He had a 28-32 record in six seasons with the Olys, but couldn’t get past the first round of the playoffs.
“Of course in athletics, sometimes you are judged on winning, but we we want our kids to get ready to be leaders in the community,” Hoffman said. “Hopefully they build relationships with each other that are a lot stronger than the other team we are playing come playoff time.”
Hoffman will begin to assemble a coaching staff after meeting with Strouse.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel