Coach Hallie Blunt thanks her players

In the past month since I was not offered my coaching contract, I have had a lot of time to think and I want to address one key issue: The kids. I want to thank all of the kids that I have been so fortunate to coach. I have been a part of nine incredible journeys with teams that all had one thing in common — heart. I want the kids to know that a personal agenda should not overshadow their success and their effort in any way.
I appreciate the support I have been given and I sincerely hope my situation changes a policy that is inept to say the least. At the risk of missing someone, I am going to give mention to outstanding athletes, some that played for me and some before my time. I think it is imperative to understand the caliber of players that have come through this program. Vicky Tate, Amy Shultz, Carol-Lynne Whiteman, Karrin Borchard, Jennifer Phelan, Julie Vandiver, Lisa Sprod, Renee Russo, Delayne Kracht, Sam Stewart, Marki Cook, Janae Kindall and Stacey Fitzgibbons. These are the all-state athletes recognized in the trophy case along with this year’s addition to the elite group. Certainly, each of these individuals have three common qualities: Amazing athleticism, incredible work ethic and great skill level. I doubt even the newfound basketball experts would argue this point. Four athletes in the past nine years have received all-state recognition — three posts and one guard — and all represented Meeker very well in the all-state games, proving they were appropriately recognized by the league. Two of the four athletes, Marki Cook and Stacey Fitzgibbons were selected as MVP and co-MVP of our league, which is voted on by the coaches. One guard and one forward selected by all the coaches in the league, one among the winningest basketball coaches in the state, and still their skill level is questioned. Again, the basketball expertise of a veterinarian and an area wildlife manager clearly outweighed the opinions of other coaches.
My point is that I don’t want a poor excuse to not rehire me to take away from the kids’ accomplishments. Perhaps the greatest accomplishment that has seemingly been forgotten was the final four finish last year. I want to say to that team, and to the 2006 team, the only thing the school board should have said is, “Congratulations!”
And to this year’s team as well, you girls represented Meeker High School well on and off the floor. Each team in the past nine years have had unique qualities that made them special. I thank them for the five trips to Mesa State team camp, two trips to Adams State team camp, one amazing trip to the Gunnison High School team camp and rafting, seven Rangely summer tournaments, seven Craig AAU and high school games, and all of the extra events that made basketball so much fun. I added it up and I have logged nearly 100,000 miles on a bus, nearly $30,000 in fundraising, 14 basketball seasons, 11 volleyball seasons, and 10 track seasons, 35 seasons over the past 14 years, nearly 750 kids. The good news is I made nearly $53,000. Clearly, the money is well worth the criticism. I have been fortunate enough to have traveled to three college tryouts, one actual recruiting trip, and written about 25 letters of recommendation for senior athletes. In nine years of coaching basketball, I have never had an academic ineligible player, and had three teams qualify for academic all-state honors. I am so very proud of the kids I have coached and for the time and effort they gave to Meeker girls’ basketball. It is truly an honor to have been called “Coachie” by so many great kids. I have had the greatest job in the world. Thanks.
Hallie Blunt
Meeker