Coronado High School tabs Monte Gutowski new football coach

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Photo - Last year's 3A State Champs Coronado take the field for their season opening game against Palmer at Garry Berry Stadium in the season opener for both teams Friday, August 28, 2015.  Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
Last year's 3A State Champs Coronado take the field for their season opening game against Palmer at Garry Berry Stadium in the season opener for both teams Friday, August 28, 2015. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

Monte Gutowski thinks Coronado football can get back to being a playoff contender.

That kind of thinking landed him the head coaching position with the Cougars, where he and assistants have already been busy trying to get the program back on track.

“I’m excited with the talent we have there and younger kids we can build upon and really get things rolling back to where it once was not so long ago,” said Gutowski, the head track and field coach at Sand Creek where he was defensive coordinator in the fall.

After two down years following a period of what seemed to be a revival, Coronado parted ways with football coach Robb Wetta and brought in Gutowski, athletic director Andy Colgate confirmed Monday.

Following a period in which Coronado struggled mightily, the Cougars were permitted to play down a classification.

Under Bobby Lizarraga, Coronado won the Class 3A state championship in 2013, while going 13-1. The following year, Coronado, playing at 4A, went 7-4 and again reached the postseason.

Shockingly, Lizarraga stepped down.

In came Wetta, with no head coaching experience. They went 1-9 in 2015 and 3-7 last season, 2-3 in 4A Pikes Peak League play.

Gutowski struggled at Manitou Springs, which reached the 2A state semifinals the year before he took over.

Over the 2014 and 2015 seasons, Gutowski coached the Mustangs to a combined 5-14 record, though they did reach the 2015 playoffs after going 3-2 in the 2A Tri-Peaks League.

“I learned a lot at Manitou, I enjoyed the kids and the staff I worked with tremendously,” Gutowski said. “I don’t look at that as a bad situation for me. It was unfortunate how it ended.”

Gutowski was also a head coach at Palmer Ridge as recently as 2011.

Being at Coronado also gives Gutowski a hometown feel, since he lives in the area.

“For me it’s another opportunity to get into a bigger school and build Coronado into what it was when they had coach Liz,” he said. “For me, living in that neighborhood was a big push for me to be able to get in there.”