COLORADO SPRINGS — When searching for a new coach of any kind, Doherty athletic director Chris Noll looks for someone who can understand the concept of "WE before me."
He believes he's found it with his new basketball coach.
Noll extended the job offer to Elizabeth's Eric Steinert on Monday. Steinert accepted and will now be tasked with continuing an upward trend of success that the Spartans have built over the last two seasons.
"We had an unbelievably deep applicant pool and at the end of the day, Eric Steinert stood out in terms of fitting not only the culture of Doherty athletics, but the culture of the Doherty community," Noll said.
Steinert replaces Jarris Krapcha, who was hired at Eaglecrest to fill the void left by John Olander Jr. He has been in Colorado for two years, spending one season as an assistant at Legend before taking the head coach position at Elizabeth last year.
But even from afar, Steinert has been able to see what Doherty has been about when it comes to basketball.
"In my first year at Legend, we played Doherty and man, were they good," he said. "We had a good team at Legend, but I was really impressed with not only how good their players were, but how mentally tough their players were and just how difficult they were to prepare for."
It wasn't just the basketball team that drew Steinert to the program. Even with the Spartans coming off back-to-back Class 5A Colorado Springs Metro League titles, he felt the school offered the total package.
Basketball is basketball. But when he spoke of the other aspects of the school, he gave the sense that he was heading somewhere that felt like home.
"You can tell a lot from culture just by sitting in a lobby and waiting on your interview," Steinert said. "In just a 10-minute wait, you can tell the culture in a school and especially in the administration.
"There's a lot of structure, a lot of support, a lot of energy. I don't think there’s any doubt that they run a top-notch program in all their sports, not just basketball."
And those involved with the hiring process liked what they heard from him. Most importantly, they liked that his goal isn't necessary to win. It's to teach. To work with the athletes in his program and help them grow both on and off the basketball court.
"Eric’s 'why' in terms of high school athletics really stood out with the committee," Noll said. "He fully understands 'WE before me,' he understands why we do have high school athletics and he brings a phenomenal basketball mind to the table."
The Cardinals went 12-13 last season under Steinert, a marked improvement from their 5-18 season in 2015-16. The idea of building on Krapcha's success is an exciting thought for the new Spartan, but what excites him the most is getting to build new relationships at a new school.
"The tough part is you leave the relationship you're at," Steinert said. "But the best part is you get to meet 30 to 40 new kids and families. I’m super excited just to teach, which is what I think coaching is and share with them my philosophies and try to get our program to focus on things other than winning."