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Matt Hower, a social studies teacher and the girls basketball coach at Fort Collins High School, stepped down this weekend to make a move to the college basketball ranks.
The 28-year-old Hower coached the Lambkins through Saturday, when they wrapped up nonconference play at home in a Power2Play High School Winter Showcase win over Central High School (Wyo.).
On Sunday, he starts his new job as director of operations for the University of Colorado women’s basketball program.
CU announced his hiring for the remainder of this season Friday.
“I’ve always kind of been interested in college coaching since I was a little kid,” Hower said. “I’ve kind of been looking at pursuing it for a while, so then when this position opened up, it was obviously weird timing, but I couldn’t really pass up an opportunity like that.”
Hower, who is in his sixth season as the Lambkins’ coach, told school administrators and his team about his plans before practice Wednesday.
Assistant coach Kerstin Young, a Fort Collins High graduate and former college basketball player, was named the Lambkins' interim coach for the remainder of the season, athletic director Brian Poynter said, sharing the information he sent out in an email to parents Friday afternoon. The school will post the opening for a permanent replacement after the season.
The Lambkins are not scheduled to play again until Jan. 4, when they open Front Range League play at Rocky Mountain.
Fort Collins is 6-3 this season, 63-56 overall and 28-30 in Front Range League play under Hower, who replaced Kyle Tregoning prior to the 2016-17 season. He guided the Lambkins to the second round of the Class 5A playoffs in each of his first two seasons as coach, with Fort Collins posting a 20-4 record overall and 9-3 mark in league play during his best season, 2017-18.
Hower spent four seasons as an assistant for the Fort Collins boys basketball team before becoming the girls head coach. He got his start at the age of 19 as a volunteer coach while attending classes at Colorado State University and landed a teaching job at the school after graduating and earning his teaching license.
He teaches U.S. history courses, including an Advanced Placement class, and helps with Fort Collins High’s credit recovery program.
At CU, he’ll replace Jill Mahoney, who has been the director of operations on coach J.R. Payne’s staff for more than five years. She is leaving the program to pursue a career in law enforcement, an athletic department spokesperson said.
“The staff at CU is amazing,” Hower said. “I’m lucky for the opportunity and super excited to kind of get rolling.”
CU is 10-0 after a 78-55 win over SMU on Friday, and the Buffaloes were already receiving votes and two spots out of the Top 25 in both major polls this past week.
"We are excited to have Matt joining our program," Payne said in a news release. "He comes with a tremendous amount of basketball knowledge as well as a great set of organizational skills. I know that he will do a great job as our director of basketball operations throughout the remainder of the season."
Kelly Lyell reports on CSU, high school and other local sports and topics of interest for the Coloradoan. Contact him at email@example.com, follow him on Twitter @KellyLyell and find him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KellyLyell.news. If you 're a subscriber, thank you for your support. If not, please consider purchasing a digital subscription today.
This article originally appeared on Fort Collins Coloradoan: Fort Collins High girls basketball coach leaves for job with CU program