When Rob Coddington resigned as head coach of the Durango High School baseball team after the 2014 season, he left the door open to a possible return. He has now walked through that door.
Coddington will once again lead the Demons’ varsity baseball team in 2020. He will look to lead DHS back to the state tournament for the first time since he left.
“I have high expectations not only of the kids but also of myself as their coach,” Coddington said. “I don’t want to do it the way I did it before. I want to do it better with higher expectations all the way through. Everyone on the staff has the same expectations for the kids and themselves. It’s an important piece to building a successful baseball culture, and it’s something all the kids and staff have to convey. We will live by higher expectations for each other. The biggest piece is believing we are capable of more.”
Coddington resigned after an eight-year stint as the DHS head coach in 2014 after his team advanced to the semifinals of the Class 4A state tournament. He had a regular-season record of 90-62 with a 36-34 mark in league play and a 9-7 playoff record. DHS won league titles under Coddington in 2009 and 2012 and reached the final four of state in 2013 and 2014.
DHS last made a district championship game in 2015 against Evergreen and did not qualify for the state tournament. Eric Baker, who will remain on Coddington’s staff, had a 41-61 record and 15-29 mark in the 5A/4A Southwestern League during his five years as the Demons’ head coach.
This year’s players have expressed enthusiasm in playing for Coddington. Junior pitcher and shortstop Gage Mestas said Coddington has already convinced some players to come out for the team who have not played since their freshmen seasons.
“I have never played for (Coddington) but am really looking forward to playing for him,” said Mestas. “He’s a strict coach that has had a significant amount of experience in baseball and is willing to share his knowledge for the success of the team. Our main goal as a team is to win league and eventually win state. Winning state is every team’s goal, or should be at least, and reaching that goal will depend on executing the philosophy of baseball and pushing our limits.”
When Coddington resigned, his son Tanner was 9 years old. The former college baseball play for the University of Wyoming cited his desire to spend more time with his son as a reason for stepping down. Coddington spent the past few years coaching his son’s baseball team. Now that Tanner is a freshman at DHS, the longtime DHS social studies teacher was ready to get back in the dugout.
“It was always in the back of my mind,” Coddington said. “The first couple of years, I wasn’t even thinking about it. But the last couple of years, I had a lot of fun coaching my son’s team at the age 13 and 14 level at a more competitive level. You can’t help but miss it if it’s in your blood. I’m excited to be around it again.”
Being a varsity baseball coach doesn’t only come with responsibilities during the spring season. It also means fostering a summer program, typically through Farmington’s Connie Mack city league season as well as travel tournaments. Coddington previously had coached the Durango team in Farmington. He once again plans to be involved in summer baseball going forward.
Coddington also is a well-known fly fishing guide around the Four Corners. He still plans to guide trips on top of his baseball duties this summer.
“Guiding is a big part of me living here in Durango,” Coddington said. “I’m definitely excited to be a big part of the baseball community again and to be a positive leader in all aspects.”
As far as the 2020 high school season goes, Coddington is eager to get into tryouts and fill out his varsity roster. Last year’s team went 9-14 overall and 2-6 in league before a first-round loss in the district tournament at Palisade. That team lost four seniors but had only two juniors with seven sophomores and a freshman.
With all of that youth returning more experienced, Coddington believes this team will compete.
“It was impressive how well the team was able to play last year with so many young guys,” Coddington said. “There is a lot of talent, and they are as hard of a working group as I’ve seen in the years I coached previously. We’ve had some really hard workers come through the high school, but cumulatively, we’ve got a lot of kids leading the charge and putting in the work right now. After school, there are kids out on the turf working every day. It’s exciting for me to get back into it because of that alone. Seeing how hard all the kids are working makes the coaches want to work that much harder.”