Randy Yaussi, who spent 30 years coaching cross country and track at Poudre High School, was honored Wednesday with the Sonny Lubick Coach of Character Award at CHAMP’s seventh annual fundraising breakfast.
Recently retired Rocky Mountain High School principal Tom Lopez, Fossil Ridge High School volleyball player Sarah Dannettell and Poudre football player Cody Limmer also received awards at the breakfast for Character in Athletics — Make it a Priority. More than 400 people involved in athletics throughout Fort Collins and the surrounding area attended the event at the Fort Collins Marriott.
“When you talk about a person of character, the fiber, I really do know Randy Yaussi, and all of the characteristics that they list and talk about, that’s the man” said T.S. Berger, Yaussi’s assistant with the cross country program at Poudre for 25 years. “He’s a great guy.”
Yaussi, now the principal at Highland High School in Ault, said he was honored to be recognized alongside such influential coaches, such as past winners Lubick, Hal Kinard, Rich Yonker, Lyle Moddelmog, Tom Davis, Earlie Thomas, Craig Luckasen and Ken Taylor.
The award, started in 2008, was designed to honor coaches for “their lifelong commitment to character development while teaching life lessons through sports.” Lubick was the football coach for 15 years at CSU, guiding the Rams to six conference championships and nine bowl games from 1993-2007.
Colorado State University is one of the founding sponsors of CHAMP, along with the Poudre School District, the city of Fort Collins Recreation division and the Healthier Communities Coalition of Larimer County.
Yaussi, 63, taught business and marketing classes at Poudre for 17 years and was an assistant principal for 13 more before stepping down in 2003 for a job at the University of Wyoming, where his son, Deric, was kicking for the football team. He ran every workout with his runners, coached a number of state champions, received several coaching awards and will be inducted March 30 into the Colorado High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
“You do something for 30 years, and you wonder does anybody notice?” Yaussi said. “You don’t do it to get noticed, but I think for me the big deal is just the kids I got to coach … Just a phenomenal group of young people. It was so much fun.
“I loved my sport, and that was always what I wanted to convey to the kids.”
Lopez received the Keli McGregor Servant Leadership Award named in honor of the late president of the Colorado Rockies and former CSU All-American football player who passed away unexpectedly in 2010.
Lopez, a Fort Collins native, wrestled at the University of Colorado and taught at Wellington and Weber junior high schools before moving into administrative jobs at Blevins Junior High and Rocky Mountain High School, spending 10 years as the principal at Rocky before retiring last spring.
Dannattell and Limmer received the organization’s Heart of a Champion scholarships, worth $1,000 apiece.
Andy McKay, the Peak Performance Coordinator for the Colorado Rockies, served as the keynote speaker. Former Rocky Mountain High pitcher Marco Gonzales, a first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals last summer, also gave a brief speech about how he got started in his sport as a youth growing up in Fort Collins.
Follow reporter Kelly Lyell at twitter.com/KellyLyell and facebook.com/KellyLyell.news.