The Durango High School boys soccer program has its next leader after the school hired longtime college coach Aaron Champenoy to lead the Demons into the future.
Champenoy brings 14 years of college coaching experience, with the last two years at Hastings College, an NAIA program in Nebraska. At Hastings, Champenoy led the Broncos to the 2016 NAIA national title, and two Great Plains Athletic Conference regular season and tournament championships. He was 43-3-2 with the Broncos.
Prior to his stop at Hastings, Champenoy spent nine seasons at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. In total, Champenoy has amassed an overall record of 175-91-19.
Champenoy’s transition from the college ranks to the high school level comes with his family’s move to Durango after his wife, Angelica Leicht, was named the editor at DGO Magazine.
“He put his family ahead of personal coaching accomplishments and he wanted to have his family all in one place,” DHS athletic director Adam Bright said. “I think we just happened to be the lucky location that brought it together.
“For me, personally, it’s similar to why I’m in Durango – a family decision. So a coach who wants to come in and be here because of family, that resonated with me and I understand that feeling for a coach.”
Bright said the job opening drew about 10 applicants, and since the school had several months to find a new coach it took its time to be sure the Demons had the right coach.
“We wanted the best candidate for the program and someone who could lead us,” Bright said. “It’s a good program and we didn’t want to see it fall down, so leaving it open to find the right person was important and I think it paid off.”
Champenoy takes over the DHS boys program for Dalon Parker, who left DHS for the head coaching position of the men’s soccer program at Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon. Parker was 62-18-5 overall and 31-8-3 in the 5A/4A Southwestern League with the boys program at DHS.
During Parker’s tenue with the Demons, he built a strong connection with Durango’s soccer community and a family culture, which Bright believes Champenoy can recreate at DHS.
“For us, he brings in two things we were really looking for. First, he brings in the wins, which I think is obvious, but more so he brings a family mentality, which is what we had with coach Parker here,” Bright said. “While the family dynamic may change a little bit, I think the overall message is that we have a family atmosphere moving forward.
“It’s about the program, not the team, and (Champenoy) understood that the program is our community from (Durango Youth Soccer Association) and the 4-year-olds up to kids playing their senior year.”
Champenoy played collegiately at Bellevue University where he was named NAIA All-American honorable mention. He also spent time coaching in the Houston Dynamo’s player development program in 2008 and 2009.
Champenoy did not return several phone calls and messages over the past two weeks for comment.