April 29, 2014 Updated: April 29, 2014 at 5:50 pm
John Paul Geniesse missed being a head coach. And living in the Pikes Peak region.
Now he has both, again.
One year after leaving the boys' basketball program at Discovery Canyon to serve as an assistant coach at Doane (Neb.) College, Geniesse recently was hired to lead the Woodland Park boys' team.
"This was an opportunity to get back to Colorado and be a head coach again," Geniesse said. "It's a great fit, especially a program like Woodland Park. We want to develop that program and get that program back to a state-championship level."
Geniesse, who still owns a home in Colorado Springs, plans on arriving in Woodland Park in late May.
The Panthers went just 2-21 in 2013-14 and haven't won more than six games in a season during the past decade.
Geniesse certainly has experience building a team from scratch. At Discovery Canyon, he started the program from the ground up when the school opened its doors for the 2007-08 season. By the end of the fifth varsity season, the Thunder had nabbed their first playoff victory and collected a program-best 17 wins.
But when a college opportunity at Doane called, Geniesse couldn't turn it down.
Perhaps that perspective of not being a head coach recharged the Sheridan native as he prepares for his re-entry into boys' basketball in Colorado Springs.
"The great thing about being a head coach here for six years is that I understand the league and what we're getting ourselves into," Geniesse said. "There are some up-tempo teams in our league, and we want to prepare our kids for the style we're going to play and style we're going to face. We're going to defend and get after it and use our elevation (8,400 feet) to our advantage."
In Woodland Park, Geniesse sees an untapped gold mine of present and future talent.
"I think it's the best-kept secret in the state, being the only high school in town with the ability to have the elementary kids and middle school kids all together and learning that system," Geniesse said. "There's lots of potential to grow and get better. It'll take some time, but I'm excited to come in here and have success."
The girls’ basketball head coaching vacancy was filled when junior varsity coach Kris Kemp was promoted.
Kemp, hired a year ago as a physical education teacher, replaces David Graf, who resigned after six seasons.