AURORA | Justin Hoffman’s lengthy football coaching history in Aurora has come to an end, at least for now.
For the first time in 20 years, Hoffman — an Aurora Central graduate who has coached at Gateway, Smoky Hill and Rangeview — won’t be on an Aurora sideline in some capacity come the 2017 season as he and his family will move to South Carolina at the end of the school year.
Hoffman told the Sentinel he resigned from the Rangeview job he held for the past two seasons just prior to spring break. He will finish out the year teaching and coaching track at the school before departing to the Greenville area, where he and his wife can begin to turn their attention to his wife’s aging relatives.
“I will absolutely miss Aurora; my grandparents raised my mom in Aurora, my granddad was a relative in Aurora forever and I have a lot of family that still lives here,” said Hoffman, who said he’d secured a job as a strength and conditioning coach and offensive coordinator for a high school in Greer, South Carolina.
“So I’ll miss that and of course all the relationships with the coaches and kids around here…It’s one of things where you’re almost ready for a change as a family. Not that there’s anything wrong with the Rangeview job and my wife and I were both teaching at the school and having a great time.
“There are a lot of good things going on there, it was just a small conversation that turned into a larger event and a decision to move.”
The Rangeview coaching job is now posted on the Aurora Public Schools website and is slated to close April 12.
Rangeview’s new coach will be the fourth on an Aurora sideline for the upcoming 2017 season, as Overland, Cherokee Trail and Gateway have all filled vacancies in recent months. The Trailblazers turned to former Denver Broncos running back Steve Sewell to take over for Seth Replogle, the Cougars hired longtime ThunderRidge coach Joe Johnson to replace Dain Mangnall and the Olys moved on from Shane Ward with a yet-to-be announced hire.
Barring any other changes, nine of Aurora’s 11 head football coaches for the upcoming season will have two years or less with their respective programs. Only Grandview’s John Schultz (13 seasons) and Eaglecrest’s Mike Schmitt (seven seasons) have been with their teams since before the beginning of the 2015 season.
Hoffman had been one of the longest-standing fixtures in Aurora prep football. The Rangeview job was the third in the city for Hoffman, who had a 16-year run at Gateway — 10 as an assistant and six as a head coach (with a 28-32 record) — before he had a one-year stint at Smoky Hill in 2013. He served as an assistant under Dave Gonzales at Rangeview in 2014 until he took over in 2015 when Gonzales was abruptly dismissed after 12 seasons.
Hoffman guided the Raiders to a 7-13 record over the past two seasons, including marks of 3-7 in 2016 and 4-6 in 2015.His Rangeview team appeared in the 5A playoffs in his first season, but missed out last season in part due to struggles in the Mount Wilson League and a reduction in playoff teams from 32 to 16.
“You always try to leave the program in a better place than you found it; I don’t know if that’s the case, but I sure worked my tail off,” Hoffman said. “Dave (Gonzales) ran his program really well and was very successful over a long period of time. If we look at wins and losses, I’m not even close to Dave, but I liked what we were doing.
“I liked the direction that we were going and we were developing the type of kid that we wanted in our program.”
Hoffman said the Greenville area reminds him of Aurora in terms of size, with roughly the same number of high schools of various sizes that are strong athletically and academically.
But of course, there won’t be the chance to run into old players like he had over spring break when he got to catch up a player he coached more than a decade prior going into a Walgreens.
“I’m certainly going to miss those things and being able to see all of those guys when they come back from college,” Hoffman said.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
JUSTIN HOFFMAN’S HEAD FOOTBALL COACHING RECORD IN AURORA
2007: Gateway — 1-9 (missed Class 5A state playoffs); 2008: Gateway — 5-5 (lost in 1st round of 5A playoffs to Poudre); 2009: Gateway — 4-6 (lost in 1st round of 5A playoffs to Arvada West); 2010: Gateway — 6-4 (lost in 1st round of 5A playoffs to Bear Creek); 2011: Gateway — 5-5 (lost in 1st round of 5A playoffs to Lakewood); 2012: Gateway — 7-3 (lost in 1st round of 5A playoffs to Regis Jesuit); 2013: Smoky Hill — 2-8 (missed 5A state playoffs); 2015: Rangeview — 4-6 (lost in 1st round of 5A playoffs to Regis Jesuit); 2016: Rangeview — 3-7 (missed 5A state playoffs). Total: 37-53.