Rick Bettger, who made a significant impact on high school sports and coaches education, has passed away


The Colorado high school community lost a major contributor to the world of athletics on Thursday night.

Rick Bettger, who made a significant impact across the state in coaches education, athletic training, athletics administration and officiating, passed away on Thursday night. Bettger was a major contributor to Colorado High School Activities Association, the Colorado High School Coaches Association, and the Colorado Athletic Directors Association, and was also a wrestling official.

He worked CHSAA state championship events as a trainer for 29 years, was named a CHSAA Distinguished Service Award Winner, and also won the Colorado High School Coaches Association's Lloyd Gaskill Award in 2018.

"Rick was a difference-maker over the course of his years with the three professional organizations," said CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green. "The news of his passing touched coaches, athletic directors and administrators across the state of Colorado. He will be missed."

Bettger, a 1970 graduate of Steamboat Springs, was named the Colorado Athletic Director of the year in 1988.

"Dr. Rick has meant so much to coaches and athletic directors over the years," said LeRoy Lopez, the president of the Colorado Athletic Directors Association. "His passion for helping others is truly something special. He will be truly missed and not forgotten."

In more than 40 of education, Bettger served in a myriad of roles at schools, included as a teacher, trainer, athletic director, and assistant principal.

Most recently, he served as the director of education for CHSCA.

"Rick loved high school athletics and was so faithful to the CHSCA," said Becky Mudd, the executive director of CHSCA. "He was a pro at giving coaches opportunities for continuing education credits. At clinics he loved presenting, talking legal issues, and telling his corny jokes.

"He worked hard to rally for less popular sports, and took over different clinic duties whenever needed. In our Board meetings he would bring a stack of greeting cards every month and he created a section that we still continue today that we start every meeting doing 'Cards for Coaches' — we celebrated and grieved everything that anyone brought forward with cards. We will miss him."