The flow between high school and college among the coaching ranks is always fluid. High school coaches matriculate on to lead collegiate programs, and occasionally some move back the other way to minimize some of the stresses.
Still, few have made the move down to the high school level with more impressive accomplishments than Aaron Champenoy, who was named the new head soccer coach at Durango in Colorado on Wednesday, per the Colorado High School Athletic Association. For the past two seasons, Champenoy was the head coach at Hastings College, where he led the program to a NAIA national title in 2016.
Champenoy was also named the NAIA Coach of the Year after that championship-winning 2016 season.
In fact, Champenoy has been at the helm of strong NAIA programs for more than a decade, first at St. Thomas in Houston and also with a stint at Bellevue, a competitor of Hastings in Nebraska. Champenoy was the man who started the St. Thomas program and built it to a regional power.
So, why is a coach who has led national title winning collegiate teams moving back to the high school ranks? It’s a valid question, though one that likely has a number of different factors. He began his career as a high school coach and while he’s a Nebraska native, Durango is a location that engenders tremendous passion among its supporters.
For now, Durango can rightfully feel that it has landed a true gem, whether he can lead a championship campaign at a Colorado high school or not.