LA JARA — Adams State recently announced Larry Mortensen’s retirement from the position of Athletic Director. Mortensen’s services remain in high demand 6 months later it has been confirmed that Mortensen will be man- ning the helm as the head coach for Centauri boys basketball.
Centauri’s last coach Jeff Brown took over a 9-13 team in 2017 and in those three years has engineered a 48-20 record during his time steering the red and black. A difficult situation made for Brown to have to move and vacate his teaching roles in Sanford and Centauri and give up the whistle. Mortensen now will step into the head coaching role for the Falcons.
Speaking on his new arrangement, Mortensen heaped plenty of praise on the school manage- ment “Curt Wilson runs a first-class school” and also recognized the athletic management “Jesse Shawcroft, I believe he was ‘Outstanding AD – they have a good group of kids, it’s
a first-class institution” The Falcons wrapped a 21-3 season by playing Manual in the Great 8 of this spring’s state tournament. The Falcons played the defending state champions to the final whistle before relenting a 59-56 defeat in the semifinals. With the talent obviously on the court expectations may tag right along.
Mortensen is not shying away from the challenge, “I’m not afraid of expectations, but I don’t coach for expectations. You coach and develop and build young men. Athletics are a tool to teach life skills and things of that nature, the winning is a by-product of all of that”
“We wanna build a culture, it’s gonna take some time to build a culture and obviously (I) haven’t had any chance this summer to work with any of the youth to teach them those fundamentals and get that culture built right, but we’re gonna get after it as soon as we can”
Mortensen is no stranger to the court and has 20 years of head coaching experience. At the prep level, Mortensen comes from the Ken Niven coaching tree. Niven coached an Alamosa streak of four consecutive basketball titles from 1989-92. After assisting Niven in Alamosa, Mortensen went out on his own getting a head coaching job in Sanford where he collected his first state title as a coach in 1995 with a 75-37 trouncing of Rye in the state final. The school’s fourth state title. Mortensen was awarded Colorado High School Activities Association’s (CHSAA), 2A Coach of the Year, for his guiding hand in the championship effort.
At the college level, Mortensen led the Ad- ams State Grizzlies men’s basketball team for more than a decade advancing ASC to the national championship. Mortensen was award- ed the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Coach of the Year in 2007 during his time on the Adams State sidelines.
“I’m excited to work with the young men down in Centauri, we’re in the midst of assem- bling a coaching staff and hopefully we’ll get to play some basketball soon.”