Rudy Carey is in rarefied air.
The longtime Denver East head man joined Dick Katte (formerly at Denver Christian) as the only Colorado boys basketball coaches to claim 800 wins.
“There’s so many people involved in this; coaches, parents, players, and teachers,” Carey said. “I’m just one component of it.”
He achieved the milestone when the Angels handled Thompson Valley 74-27 in a Fossil Ridge Tip-off Classic game on Saturday, improving their season record to 2-1.
“This says a lot about the kids we’ve had in the program, about the coaches we’ve had, and about the contributions of the community,” Carey added. “We feel like we’ve been a bright light for a community that has sometimes lived in darkness. We’ve never allowed that light to go out.”
Poudre did delay the achievement just a little, upsetting the fifth-ranked team in 5A by a score of 51-43 during Wednesday’s opener. But the Angels shined again over the weekend, returning to a trademark with unrelenting, pressure-filled defense in wins over Mountain View and Thompson Valley.
During Friday’s 83-39 victory against Mountain View, East had 34 steals as Kwane Marble (21 points, 11 assists, 10 steals) and freshman Langston Reynolds (17 points, 5 steals) led the way. Their tenacity carried over to Saturday, leading to the monumental win.
“We have high expectations on and off the floor for our players and it’s basically student-driven,” Carey said. “They buy into their own success.”
One of those high-achievers is Kwane Marble, a 6-foot-5 senior guard who scored his team’s first 19 points against Thompson Valley, which included a two-handed dunk and a trio of three-pointers. Marble will be asked to lead an Angels contingent with plenty of speed and shooting ability.
It will be a process though as they graduated Daylen Kountz, now a Colorado Buff, and his 24 points per game as a senior.
“We have three or four kids injured right now,” Carey said. “We’re young and have some work to do, but I think we’ll be better in February.”
Marble, who finished with 28 points against Thompson Valley, seems to ensure that. Carey says he’s probably one of the top three players in the state, but the senior (four Division I offers) is only the latest in a long line of all-state level players.
Carey was an all-state guard for Denver East himself and graduated in 1970 before competing for Colorado State University. His son, David, was an all-stater in the 1990’s while playing for the elder. They have coached together for many years.
“As a community and as a staff we have created a culture of success,” Carey said. “I’m a fraction of this. I had no idea I would be around for 800 wins.”
During a head coaching career that began at Manual in 1979, Carey has nine state titles to his name (three at Manual, six at East). That’s tied for the state record with Ron Vlasin (formerly at Merino, Arapahoe, Littleton).