LAKEWOOD — Green Mountain High School has a new boys basketball coach, but he is a very familiar face to the Rams’ community.
Mike Puccio, a 2000 graduate of Green Mountain, helped the Rams advance to the Class 5A state quarterfinals his senior year before losing to eventual state champion Palmer.
“I’m looking forward to coming home where it all started for me over 20 years ago and being apart of the GM family again,” said Puccio, who was the boys varsity head basketball coach for Standley Lake in Westminster for nine years.
Puccio takes over for Derek Van Tassel, who has coached Green Mountain’s boys basketball, along with the Rams’ boys and girls golf programs for nearly a decade. Van Tassel stepped down from coaching basketball to spend more time with his family, including watching his daughter Kelli play for Colorado Mesa University’s women’s basketball team.
“We are excited that Coach Puccio is coming back home to GM,” Green Mountain Principal Colleen Owens said. “The Green Mountain Community is a special place. As a GM Alum, I know the pull on the heart strings that many of us who return to our alma mater feel. GMHS is a hub of the community and we are proud of our schools.”
Green Mountain had a 10-14 record last season. The Rams did qualify for the 4A state playoffs, losing to Falcon in the opening round. Green Mountain was a senior-laded squad, so Puccio will have his work cutout for him with the Rams playing in the tough 4A Jeffco League that features defending 4A state champion Valor Christian, along Golden, D’Evelyn and Evergreen that all made at least the state quarterfinals.
Puccio played at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling and finished his playing career in 2005 playing at Colorado State University-Pueblo.
He started his coaching career in 2002 for the Colorado Chaos club basketball program. Puccio also served as an assistant coach under John Anderson at Golden High School and was the junior varsity coach at Green Mountain during the 2006-07 season when Rudy Martin was the varsity coach at Green Mountain.
Puccio spent one year as an assistant coach for Standley Lake’s boys basketball program before taking over the head varsity job during the 2008-09 season.
“The Green Mountain Athletic Department is very proud to have such a quality person and coach on our coaching staff,” Green Mountain Athletic Director Tommy Dodge said. “We support the message of education-based athletics here at GM and Mike shares the same mission as us. We are excited to see how he will grow our students into men and teach them the proper life skills that we can through sports.”