Caton named as UCCS Head Coach
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.— “It’s healthy and a compliment to the program that other schools are wanting our assistant coaches.”
That is the attitude that Adams State College men’s basketball coach Larry Mortensen is taking in response to the fact that the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs Mountain Lions have named Alamosa native and assistant coach Russ Caton as its new head coach. Caton, who has served as the Grizzlies’ top assistant for the past two years, was introduced by UCCS officials at a Tuesday afternoon press conference.
“Russ was a tremendous asset to ASC and our program,” Mortensen said. “I hate to see him go, yet at the same time I’m excited for him to have an opportunity to be a head coach.”
“I’m really excited. Opportunities like this don’t come around too often and I’m honored to have been offered the job,” Caton said. “Becoming a head coach has been a career goal of mine. I hope I’m equal to the task.”
Caton, a 1997 ASC graduate, who also helped Mortensen as a student assistant coach during the 1997-98 seasons, was an all-state player for Alamosa High School, helping the Mean Moose to two state championships. Caton then moved on to Northeastern Junior College where he played for two years, earning All-Region IX honors in his sophomore season.
The 6-foot-5 forward then moved on to Southern Utah University, playing for the NCAA Division I Thunderbirds for one year before returning home to Alamosa. Playing for Mortensen during the 1996-97 season, Caton averaged 18.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game en-route to Second Team All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference West Division honors. He also led the 1996-97 edition of the Grizzlies in assists with 72.
Caton then turned to coaching and helped Mortensen while completing his bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology and leisure science with an emphasis in sports management in December, 1997.
Caton, who is well on his way towards a master’s degree in health and physical education at ASC, has also served as the head boy’s basketball coach at Moffat and Alamosa High Schools.