Jason Flores didn’t have to look far to find his next assistant coaches at Fort Lewis College.
Flores, who is entering his seventh year as head coach of the women’s basketball team at FLC, brought on Durango native Orlando Griego and former Skyhawks standout Mary Rambo to serve as assistants for the 2018-19 season.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am,” Flores said of Griego and Rambo joining his staff. “I’m pumped. I think it’s going to be a huge help for me and they both bring different dynamics. I feel really, really fortunate.”
“We’ve got coaches who love it here – it’s a difference. Orlando is a great guy and Mary played for me, so the trust level is off the charts. And I think it’s going to be great for our players, too.”
Griego and Rambo replace Maylinn Smith, who spent three years as Flores’ assistant before accepting an assistant position at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. SFU is the only Canadian university that competes in the NCAA. The school’s athletic programs are members of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in Division II.
Rambo played four years for Flores at FLC, where she was a starting forward her junior and senior seasons. She graduated in 2016.
The familiarity and trust Flores and Rambo have from Rambo’s playing days will bring what the two expect to be a smooth transition for the coaching staff.
“I learned a lot from coach Flores, both on and off the court, when I was playing for him, and I think I’ll learn a lot coaching alongside him,” said Rambo, who is originally from Pagosa Springs. “It’s a great program and I’m honored to be a part of it again.
“I always dreamed of being a coach. I didn’t expect it to come this soon, but the opportunity was there and I couldn’t resist it.”
While playing for the Skyhawks, Rambo earned first team All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference honors during her junior year when she averaged 14 points, 6.5 rebounds and one blocked shot per game. During her career, Rambo played in 101 games, 43 of which she started, and averaged 15.5 minutes, nine points on 57.4 percent shooting, 5.3 rebounds and nearly one block per game.
Griego joins the staff at FLC with a big connection to Durango.
Griego graduated from Durango High in 2003, and after a successful college career he returned to Durango and served as an assistant with the DHS boys and girls basketball teams.
“Coach Flores has had great success at Fort Lewis. I was fortunate enough to be in the Durango area and coaching at the high school and able to go up and watch them play, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to help,” Griego said. “I’m excited to be coaching at the college level – going against high caliber players and coaches, helping with player development and winning.”
Griego played college ball at Cochise College in Sierra Vista, Arizona, before transferring to Division I Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah. At SUU, Griego was a double-double threat in points and rebounds and started every game during the 2006-07 season.
Griego spent one season on Alan Batiste’s staff with the boys program at DHS, then joined the girls program, which was led by his former high school coach Tim Fitzpatrick, for the last few years.
“Orlando has really been a coach since he was 14 years old,” Fitzpatrick said. “I think it’s been a natural progression for him and I’m really excited to see him make the jump.
“He has excellent communication skills and he’s also very knowledgeable in the game of basketball. He’ll bring a dynamic skill set to the Fort Lewis women’s basketball program. It’s Fort Lewis’ gain.”