Dan Greene may have coached the Rampart girls swimming and diving team to the program's first state championship, but he doesn’t shy away from passing the credit on to other coaches.
“I’m lucky that these girls already have the training and experience from their club teams when they come in,” Greene said. “They’ve got the training background already, I just need to get them mentally prepared.”
And he did just that as he led the Rams to the team’s first state title - and potentially kick-starting a championship culture for the Rampart swim program.
He is The Gazette Preps girls’ swimming and diving Coach of the Year.
Greene and the Rams entered the 2017-18 season with an idea of some of the potential returning to the pool, as Rampart returned all of its state qualifiers from its 2017 fifth-place finish. But it wasn’t until the diving team started to put it together, led by freshman Maggie Buckley, that Rampart's true potential came through.
“We knew pretty early on that we had a shot at the top three, but as the season went on it started to look better and better for us,” Greene said.
But Greene said the transition and the mental preparation from looking at a top-three finish, to a state championship team, was the most difficult part of his coaching journey this year.
“Trying to convince the girls that this is a possibility, when historically it’s never happened before was a challenge,” Greene said. “And that goes along with helping to build that team culture, so that they rely on each other when it comes down to it.”
Luckily for Greene, he and the Rams have benefited from the stellar club programs in the Pikes Peak region that have trained his swimmers well enough that they make an instant impact.
“These club coaches are training them early and they’re showing up here as freshman fast already,” Greene said. “Right now some of our strongest swimmers come from the Colorado Springs Swim Team, their coach Mike Doane is running a phenomenal program and getting our girls ready.”
Buckley was just one of the freshmen who made an early splash for Greene and the Rams. In her first year of diving Buckley placed second at the 4A state championship meet, falling short of a gold medal by just 0.15 of a point.
“Our divers were a huge part of it this season, and Maggie just came out of nowhere,” Greene said. “We had no idea that she was going to excel as fast as she did, it wasn’t even coaching, it was just pure talent.”
But Greene was sure to credit the Rampart diving coach Abbey Graham for coaching a group of four divers to qualify for the state championships.
“I don’t think I can take a whole lot of credit for this year,” Greene said. “I just did a lot of talking. I’m a stats guy, so I talked to the girls pretty early on about what we were going for, and mathematically that it was possible for us to win a state championship. That it was doable. They got over the nerves pretty quickly, they listened and they did it.”