Longtime Palmer Ridge athletic director Porter takes post at Coronado

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It'll seem like old times for Jim Porter.

Soon, he'll oversee an athletics program and work alongside football coach Monte Gutowski, eight years after the two started from scratch at Palmer Ridge.

Porter on Friday signed a contract to become the new athletic director at Coronado and expects the transaction to be approved by the District 11 Board of Education at its meeting Wednesday.

"It's a different setting with a different challenge," Porter said Tuesday. "I think it's exciting. It's nice to reunite with guys like Monte. I know what he can do. It's exciting to work with him again."

Porter, a Northern Colorado graduate who previously was the assistant principal at Lewis-Palmer and Florence, replaced Andy Colgate, who stepped down after three years at the post.

"Andy did a great job and made a lot of good changes," D11 athletic director Dave Eichman said. "With Jim coming in, he already has a lot of experience and can hit the ground running. We're excited to have him on board."

On Porter's watch, Palmer Ridge quickly transitioned from a fledgling school that only opened its doors in 2008 into a legitimate power in many sports, highlighted by state 4A championships for boys' cross country in 2014 and 2016 and consecutive boys' track crowns in 2014-15.

Others have come close. The Bears' field hockey team was state runner-up three times, and the boys' soccer team fell in the 2012 state championship game. The program's baseball and girls' soccer teams also have made runs into the semifinals.

"Starting a new school is always a challenge," Porter said. "You have to establish a tradition and culture. Coronado is not a blank slate. You have to adjust where we need to and not adjust where we don't need to."

Gutowski was Palmer Ridge's first football coach, staying four seasons before heading east to Bethune but returning to the Pikes Peak region in 2014 to take over the Manitou Springs program. After two seasons, he left and resurfaced on the city's east side, taking the reins of the track and field program at Sand Creek last season.

The westside resident, however, jumped at the chance to coach a football team in his neighborhood.

And how he has a longtime colleague to share the experience with.

"I'm excited," Gutowski said. "It'll be fun to work with Jim again. It's a different situation with different circumstances at Coronado, but it's good to know you have somebody there that you know and can trust. I think he's going to bring a lot of energy here, and I think we're both excited to get things rolling."