Clear Creek sports

A mountain of memories

Longtime CCHS coach, AD David Schuessler will retire after this school year

David Schuessler is Clear Creek High School. But the former student-athlete now mathematics teacher and athletic director is stepping down at the end of this school year.
Schuessler, who started working at Clear Creek High School in 1988 and full-time seven years later, is capped out financially as far as receiving an annual increase in salary. The school district capped any pay raise for teachers who have been with it for 25 years in an effort years ago to better recruit teachers to come to Clear Creek. Schuessler’s 25 years full-time with CCHS ended after the 2019-20 school year.
The 55-year-old former Outdoor Seminar teacher, who has been a coach and an administrator, is taking early retirement, but not before leaving with a mountain of memories.
The consummate CCHS coach
As a coach, Schuessler, 55, has enjoyed success with the boys basketball team, including winning a league championship in 2012 - 50 years after his dad, George, played on the last conference title team at Clear Creek. There was also the 2005 team’s run to the 3A Sweet 16, scoring wins over eventual state champion Denver Christian during the regular season and Patriot League champion Burlington in the first round of regionals.
But one moment that stood out was more personal. It was the resolve of one of his players — J.R. Sayler — playing literally hours after the passing of his mother.
“I met with (him) that day, and he played in that game — a Saturday afternoon game. He played in that game, played like a man possessed,” said Schuessler, who stepped down as head boys basketball coach after the 2011-12 season. “Without the way he performed, we wouldn’t have won that game. It was just him going out there and doing it.”
Up to AD
Schuessler stepped into the athletic director role in the mid-2000s, following in the footsteps of the person who hired him, then-principal Frank Reeves, the current superintendent in the East Grand School District.
In Schuessler’s time as an administrator, he charts the girls basketball team’s run to the 2A state finals in 2018 as the highlight. The seventh-seeded Golddiggers pulled off back-to-back upsets of No. 2 Simla and No. 3 Wray before falling to top-ranked Yuma in the finals. But again it wasn’t just the team’s athletic prowess, but it’s academic achievements that impressed him.
“They did everything right. I don’t remember exactly what their team GPA was, but I believe it was a 4.1 team GPA,” Schuessler said. “They were the complete package. I want to see what all these kids are doing in 10 years off that team. I think they’re going to be doctors, lawyers and teachers, making a great contribution to our community.”
From watching a ski program that was nearly cut years ago because it only had seven skiers total rebuild itself so that it could support itself to student-athletes not only playing in multiple sports in a given year but also partake in the school’s spring play, Schuessler has enjoyed watching the Clear Creek community excel in all areas.
“We want to provide those opportunities for student-athletes here, to be in lacrosse and track and have a major role in the spring musical at the same time,” he said.
Shedding the spotlight onto the student-athletes is nothing new. That’s just who Schuessler is, said assistant principal Jeff Miller.
“He’s always put what’s best for the kids first. Let’s start with that. He always does what’s best for the kids first,” assistant principal Jeff Miller said. “Being an administrator there are times you have to deal with difficult situations. Whenever that has happened I think he dealt with those things fairly.”
As an administrator, Miller said Schuessler was cordial to working with coaches in helping set up schedules and such. He’s open-minded to crafting a sports calendar for teams, such as cross country when Miller was coaching the high school squad, that catered to what the coaching staff wanted.
“We’ve had a great working relationship all the time. It’s been great,” Miller said.
Big ‘Schues’ to fill
CCHS first-year principal Chris Gould has a long history with Schuessler, first as a student, then as a parent and now as an administrator. He understands first-hand what the school will be missing once Schuessler walks out the door for the final time as a full-time staff member.
“Thinking about filling his shoes. Here’s the reality, I don’t know if we can fill his shoes. Not in the same way,” Gould said.
That said, Gould is hopeful that, despite present COVID-19 protocols, that he’ll be able to lean on Schuessler’s experience as athletic director once the school moves forward with finding his replacement in the next few months and will have him around as a guide in the months and years ahead.
“All of the work that I feel like he and I would’ve done to try and get some of that institutional knowledge passed along, it just hasn’t happened. Now, we’ll see with the spring and how sports play out. Dave has started putting together some transition material for us. But one thing I feel, I hope, is that we won’t lose Dave as a resource altogether. He’s part of the community. His son (Zephyr) is still going to be here.”
While there are plans to travel with his youngest child this summer and plenty of interests to keep him busy, Schuessler won’t be far away from the athletic arena. He still plans to coach the middle school boys basketball team, as well as assist with the varsity baseball squad.
“I love athletics. I love teaching and coaching. I hope to keep the coaching part in my life in some respect. But I also have several other interests. I’m an avid fly fisherman. I love to backpack. I love outdoor photography, love to garden,” Schuessler said. “I’ve known a few people who’ve retired from here who did not really know what was next. I think I have so many hobbies that I don’t think I’ll have trouble staying busy. I’m sure my wife will find something for me.”
Older son Seattle knows that his dad, no matter what, will keep himself busy, even if he’s not in the school any longer.
“He’s the type of guy who needs to go out and do stuff. He loves to be outdoors. He loves to see those things. That’s just what he wants to do,” Seattle said. “Sitting at home all day, I wouldn’t see him sitting at home. He would go out on hikes. He loves to take pictures with his camera. Other than that, I think he will get a lot more done around the house.”


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