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Coaching mainstay McKiernan still without a job as school year nears

By: KEVIN CARMODY
August 5, 2011 Updated: July 3, 2013 at 9:55 am
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photo - Dan McKiernan, pictured here coaching during a 2010 game, has come to realization that his long career in basketball may be finished. He led Palmer, Rampart and Doherty during a Hall of Fame career. Photo by CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE
Dan McKiernan, pictured here coaching during a 2010 game, has come to realization that his long career in basketball may be finished. He led Palmer, Rampart and Doherty during a Hall of Fame career. Photo by CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE 

Free agents keep finding new homes in sports, but one notable name remains unattached despite a 48-year coaching career and recent induction into the Colorado High School Coaches Hall of Fame.

The phone, however, isn’t ringing at the home of Dan McKiernan.

On the dawn of a new school year, McKiernan, 70, who coached Palmer to two state titles and later prowled the sideline at Rampart and Doherty, realized that his near half-century run might have come to an end.

After a summer of relaxation and plenty of golf, that’s not totally bad news, either.

“I’ve enjoyed working with the kids, and Doherty was a good place and they treated me well,” McKiernan said. “I’m OK. Maybe something opens up. If not, maybe I’m done.”

McKiernan expressed interest, but did not apply, for boys’ coaching positions at Fountain-Fort Carson and Falcon.

“I’ve been treated very well by people, and I appreciate it,” McKiernan said. “I’ve had a good life.”

On May 27, McKiernan broke ties with Doherty, leaving the Spartans program over frustrations regarding job security. He felt his service time warranted certain guarantees, but the school couldn't make those promises.

“With all the hard work and what you’ve done and certainly the sacrifices you’ve made, you hope that eventually you get to a position that becomes your resume,” McKiernan said. “I’m not so sure that’s true anymore.”

A graduate of St. Mary’s, McKiernan played college basketball at Northwest Community College in Sterling and Northwest Oklahoma State before returning to take over the Palmer boys’ program in 1972. He coached the Terrors to state titles in 1993 and 2000, then spent two seasons at Rampart (2003-04) before moving south to Doherty for the past six seasons.

McKiernan hinted at signs of regret over his decision to part ways.

“I think if I had to do it over again, maybe I think about it a little more,” McKiernan said. “Doherty was a good place, treated me well and was a good place to teach. I’m not sure. Right now, I think I’m OK relaxing. I can be a good spectator, and I"ll stay connected.”

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