Mortensen to step down as Grizzly hoops coach at season's end
by Chris Day
ALAMOSA, Colo.— Adams State College Athletic Director and Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Mortensen announced Monday that he will step down as the Grizzlies’ coach at the conclusion of the 2006-07 season. He will remain on as the Athletic Director.
A search for his coaching replacement will begin soon as Mortensen and ASC President Dr. David Svaldi would like to have someone in place by early March.
Mortensen, a 1988 and 1992 ASC graduate, is in his 11th season at the helm of the basketball team and took over athletic director duties for the second time in his tenure last spring. Also serving as the athletic director during the 1999-2000 academic year, he has guided the team to five Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament appearances during his career and has recruited and coached players who have earned 26 All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference West Division honors.
Mortensen, who has a 110 career wins in his tenure ASC, started his coaching career at Sanford high School, where he taught and coached from 1988-95. His teams were consistently among the best in Class 2A. His 1995 team won a state championship as he earned Colorado Coach of the Year Honors.
Also named as the Sanford School District’s Teacher of the Year, Mortensen then joined the ASC staff as Terry Layton’s assistant coach for the 1995-96 season before moving into the head position for the 1996-97 campaign.
Mortensen is also extremely proud of his summer camp series that he has built throughout his career. In 2006, more than 1,500 campers attended as the basketball program profited $55,000, all of which went back to the institution.
“I have taken the basketball program as far as I can or desire. It is now time for someone else to carry the torch,” Mortensen commented on his decision.
“The program is in good financial condition. The scholarships that we have are better than ever and the full time assistant coach position that we now have will be attractive to future prospects,” Mortensen said.
“I believe we can hire a quality coach to take the program to the next level,” he stressed.
"Larry Mortensen has done yeoman work as ASC's men's basketball coach over the last 10-plus years. His teams have been consistently competitive in the highly competitive RMAC. But even more importantly, his players have been excellent campus citizens," Svaldi said.
“I also look forward to building an athletic department that is even more a source of pride to the college and the San Luis Valley,” Mortensen said about his future goals for the department.
That process is already well on track. In the months that Mortensen has led the athletic department, ASC has raised an all-time high in monies through the Grizzly Club, instituted a travel and hazing policy and has increased the professionalism and accountability of the staff, amongst other accomplishments.
“I also feel that we have started to bridge the gap between academics and athletics,” Mortensen said.
"Over the last six months Larry has been an excellent member of Adams State College’s Cabinet and all cabinet members have come to appreciate his insight on student-athlete issues as well as to understand the very important nature of athletics on a campus the size of ASC. Larry truly cares about all students," Svaldi said.