Family bond led Wes Lewis to Pagosa Springs boys basketball job

Centauri Pagosa Springs girls basketball

(Matt Mathewes/MVPSportsPics.com)

Wes Lewis had a tough decision to make at the conclusion of the 2019-20 girls basketball season. He had been the head coach of the Pirates for the last 13 years and even led them to the program's first Class 3A state title in 2015.

But all good things must come to an end.

This last season, he said goodbye to his daughter Taylor who completed her senior season. The Pirates went 20-4 and won a tough Intermountain League title. With his son Colt getting ready to enter the high school and Taylor now gone, Lewis decided to call it quits from the girls side.

"I was just going to be a dad and follow (Colt) around," Lewis said. "Sometimes the boys and girls play in different places so I wanted to make sure I was there for him."

Then an opportunity presented itself. Boys coach Randy Sorenson stepped aside and all of a sudden an opportunity to be there for his son while staying involved with Pagosa Springs basketball was there.

But Lewis wasn't content with just jumping right into it. He started poking around to see what the interest level in the job was from outside parties. He reached out to friends of his who he thought would have interested, but found out that the job was potentially there for the taking.

"I had talked to my friends and none of them applied for it," he said. "So I thought I would apply for it myself."

An added benefit in getting the boys job was his familiarity with the younger kids in the program. Lewis had coached Colt's team all through youth basketball and now a lot of those players are set to be freshmen or sophomores at Pagosa Springs.

He also has some returning seniors that he knows he'll be able to lean on. His nephew Mitch Lewis is the team's top returning scorer from last year at 11 points per game. Lewis quickly pointed out that Kyler Hammer and Aidan O'Donnell will be crucial to the team's success in 2020-21.

Having the experience of coaching his daughter, Lewis knows the challenge of having a child in his program. But it's a challenge he's very much looking forward to.

"I think it'll be special and it will be neat," he said. "I'm also harder on my kid than I am on anyone else and he knows that going in. He witnessed it with my daughter the last four years."

Lewis is anxious to get his team going and has started putting together open gym workouts. The COVID-19 pandemic has put some restrictions on what he's able to do with his players, but he's taking the entire situation in stride.

If anything, he's remembering just how much passion he has for coaching basketball, a passion that he wasn't sure he'd get to keep following last year.

"I've never lost the passion," Lewis said. "It was extremely hard for me to resign from the girls team. There was a lot of speculation that I would be because it was my daughter's senior year. When it came down to it, it was much harder to walk away than I thought it would be."

But circumstances didn't keep him out for long. After a brief coaching retirement period, he's right back in the game.