Fort Collins High School baseball coach Frank Gonzales has been let go after three seasons, the school confirmed.
Collins Athletic Director Rob Larson said he couldn’t comment on the specifics of Gonzales’ contract not being renewed, but said the search for a new coach will begin soon. Poudre School District coaches are on year-to-year contracts. Gonzales’ contract working at Collins under a special authorization position through the Colorado Department of Education that had him partially working with at-risk students also was not renewed.
“I can tell you coach Gonzales will not be returning as head coach, and we wish him luck on his future endeavors,” Larson said.
Despite repeated attempts, Gonzales could not be reached for comment.
The coaching job opening will be listed in September and no interim coach has been named. Larson said no timetable was given for when a new hire will be made.
Gonzales, a Colorado State University graduate who later led the Rams’ club baseball team to two national championships in 2004 and 2005 and who played professional baseball for 10 years, helped Fort Collins to a 9-11 overall record this spring with a 7-4 mark in conference. They were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
Rocky Mountain head baseball coach Scott Bullock said it was difficult seeing such a good friend be let go. The strong rivalry between the Lobos and Lambkins was one Bullock enjoyed and knows it will likely be different next spring.
“Frank is somebody who has been a positive impact on Fort Collins baseball. Period. From youth, to college to high school,” Bullock said. “He had things moving in the right direction at Fort Collins and I always enjoyed competing against him. I’ll miss him.”
Bullock coached Gonzales’ son Marco Gonzales, who was the winning pitcher in four straight Class 5A state high school championship games for Bullock’s Lobos. Marco is a standout pitcher at Gonzaga. Gonzales’ youngest son, Alex, a talented infielder, will be a high school freshman this year. Which school he’ll attend is unknown, but the family lives within the Rocky Mountain school boundary.
Fossil Ridge baseball coach Mark Findley was surprised when he heard about Fort Collins’ decision to go in a new direction with its baseball program; he and Gonzales have gotten to know each other well during the past few seasons while both were coaching city high school teams.
Findley said when a coaching change is made this close to the school year, especially one of Gonzales’ stature, it leaves a vacuum in a program and hopes Fort Collins will fill the vacancy soon.
“I’m sure there will be a fallout in some form, especially when a guy like Frank who’s a quality baseball guy, is no longer coaching it,” Findley said. “For me and my view of baseball and coaches in Fort Collins, we want to beat each other, but my experience with them has been very positive. We’re not poaching (players) or have an antagonistic approach of dealing with it.
“Hopefully, this doesn’t escalate and become a bigger problem.”