Woodland Park High School athletic director Joe Roskam didn’t have look far to find the school’s next boys’ soccer coach. In fact, he needed to only walk down one of the school’s hallways.
Andrew Pappadakis, a civics and economics teacher, is returning to coach the team this fall. He previously coached the Panthers from 2003 through 2013, when he stepped down for personal reasons.
“When I left, I left,” Pappadakis said. “I assumed I wouldn’t be coaching again, at least not at this school.”
Noel Sawyer took over for Pappadakis and coached the Panthers for five seasons until resigning last fall.
“Everywhere I went people asked me, ‘Are you going to coach?’” Pappadakis said. “I wanted to make sure the administration was sure about what it wants to do. I love the fact that they want to extend their growth model from the classroom out to the field and to all the other sports.”
Pappadakis never really left the game. He was head coach of the Woodland Park girls’ soccer team from 2002 through 2017. He also coached club soccer in Colorado Springs.
He coached his daughter, Maia, all four years she played for the school. His son, Greg, will be a senior this season.
The Panthers were 8-7 last season, their first winning campaign since 2010, when they were 7-6-1.
Greg Pappadakis is the top returning offensive player from last season. He was second on the team in scoring with 11 goals and five assists. Two other returners — senior Oliver Lampton and sophomore Arturo Cobian — scored two goals apiece.
The top returning defender is senior David Pedroza.
“This is not going to be a stat-driven year,” Andrew Pappadakis said. “The soccer program will be an educational environment. Players should be able to ask themselves, ‘Did I get a soccer education this year?’”
Pappadakis said he spent the last few years doing a lot of “self-reflection” and that he is a more “effective teacher.”
“The district is trying to create an environment where we are lifelong learners,” Pappadakis said. “The atmosphere is healthy and I’m happy to be a part of that.”
The Panthers have their first official practice next Monday. Their first game is scheduled for Sept. 7 against Pueblo East at Dutch Clark Stadium in Pueblo.
Woodland Park plays in the Class 4A Metro League. Last season, the Panthers finished seventh out of nine teams in their conference.
The playoffs are decided based on the RPI standings. The top 32 teams in the state advance to the postseason.
“The playoffs aren’t even a thought right now,” Pappadakis said. “We’re just looking to get better each day.”