MONUMENT – There has been a changing of the guard – sort of – with the Lewis-Palmer High School girls soccer program.
Joe Martin has removed himself as the head varsity coach, but he will still oversee the program.
Junior varsity coach Ryan Parson has taken over as the varsity coach, with Martin assuming Parsons’ junior varsity position.
“We made these changes to keep us focused and to keep us moving forward toward the playoffs,” Martin said. “Everything has always been for the program and for the girls. I made this decision to do this for the program and for the girls.”
Martin’s move was made effective on April 17, one day after he had an intense meeting with players and parents. Martin would not comment on the details of the meeting. Following the meeting, Martin met with Lewis-Palmer athletic director Russ McKinstry to discuss the situation. McKinstry told Martin he would support him with whatever decision he made.
“I support coach Martin’s decision to step back to be a varsity assistant working under coach Parsons,” McKinstry said. “I’m happy with the performance of coach Martin and coach Parsons, and I’m happy with how the girls have responded.
“Since the change has been made the girls have responded well as they continue their push for the state playoffs.”
Martin was in his third varsity season. He guided the Rangers to the Class 4A state quarterfinals in 2012. The Rangers are 9-4 overall this season, 3-2 in the highly competitive Pikes Peak Athletic Conference. Since Martin stepped down, the team is 2-0 with victories over Discovery Canyon (3-0) and Falcon (6-1).
“We are going to inject some youthful enthusiasm into the varsity program,” Martin said. “I’ll be assisting him for varsity games, but he’ll be making out the lineup and doing whatever else he feels is necessary.” McKinstry called Martin a “man of integrity.”
“Nobody is bigger than the program,” McKinstry said. “Joe maintained integrity with what he did. Joe has handled this professionally and I’m very proud of him.
“I told coach Martin I would respect him in whatever direction he wants to go. Hopefully this is a win-win for everybody in the program.”
Martin and McKinstry both said that no decision has been made on who will be in charge of the program beyond this season.
“Coach McKinstry and I will sit down after the season and see where we are with all of this,” Martin said.
The Rangers played defending state champion Air Academy on Tuesday and finish the regular season on Thursday at home against Sand Creek.