Vince Valdez is returning to the high school sidelines.
Valdez, the former longtime coach at Lincoln, has been hired as the boys basketball coach at Denver South. Rebels athletic director Adam Kelsey announced the hire on Tuesday.
"I coached against Vince for many years," said Kelsey, the former boys basketball coach at South who became AD in 2013. "A couple of years ago, he told me if the job ever opened up, that South High School was one of his dream jobs. So when it did open up, he applied, and really gave a fabulous interview. Our committee was really impressed with him.
"He's going to be a good fit," Kelsey said. "He's a DPS guy. And I would put him up there with any of the best coaches in Colorado right now. We're excited to have him taking over and leading our program, and seeing where we can go from here."
Valdez coached at Lincoln for 17 seasons, resigning in 2015 to spend more time with his family. He has recently been the dean of students at Denver East.
At Lincoln, Valdez led the Lancers to back-to-back Class 4A state championships in 2007 and 2008. His teams reached the Great 8 round four times.
"He obviously has a track record of being a very successful coach. He has a great resume with a great list of accomplishments," Kelsey said. "But I think the bigger thing is his former players all speak so highly of him and the kind of culture that he developed and maintain within his program.
"I know from coaching against him that he's an excellent teacher, and an excellent tactician. Like I mentioned, his teams always had great culture, and everybody that played for him had great things to say about him. There was a big outpouring of support for him."
Kelsey said Valdez will work at South next school year, allowing him to be an in-building coach.
"That was a big factor," Kelsey said.
Valdez replaces Malik Fletcher, who stepped down in February after a successful run leading the program for six seasons.