Nothing could keep John Vogt away from watching his son coach in a state championship game Saturday. Luckily for him, he already had plans to be at the same place at the same time.
John Vogt, father of Durango High School head football coach David Vogt, is a linebackers coach on the Cherry Creek High School football team, which will face Valor Christian (7-0) in the Class 5A state championship game at 6 p.m. Saturday at the CSU-Pueblo Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl Stadium.
David’s Durango Demons (7-0) will play Roosevelt (7-0) for the Class 3A state championship at 2 p.m. the same day in the game immediately leading up to Cherry Creek’s kickoff.
“Wild horses couldn’t keep me away,” John said of watching his son coach Durango in the 3A championship. “It’s pretty special to be here. To see him hoist that trophy would be unbelievable.”
John is in his 49th year as a high school football coach. The Cherry Creek Bruins are in search of back-to-back state titles in their third title appearance in the last three years under famed head coach Dave Logan.
John won his first state title with Fairview High School in Boulder in 1978. He retired from head coaching after the 2017 season after a long stint with Chaparral High School in Parker, where David joined his staff in 2012 as a defensive backs coach. But when Logan called John to grab a cup of coffee going into the 2018 season, he couldn’t resist getting back on the sideline as an assistant coaching what he loves most: defense.
David is also a defensive-minded coach leading one of the top units in all of Class 3A. He has been on an eight-year journey to get to the championship with DHS as a young coach who has methodically built a program.
“It’s super special for both my dad and I to get to this level,” David said. “It is so hard for one team to make it to the state championship let alone to have two teams do it. It’s really fun that it is going to be played the same day back to back.”
David played college football at Texas Lutheran University and wanted to get into coaching. So in 2012, he called up his father to start his journey.
“He wanted to come to Colorado and coach. I didn’t have a teaching job for him at Chaparral, but he worked as a security person at the high school and coached defensive backs,” John said. “He did a great job. He got the interview down in Durango the next year, and the rest is history.”
It wasn’t the original plan for Durango athletic director Sheldon Keresey when he was looking for a new head coach to replace Greg Wyatt ahead of the 2013 season. Keresey wanted John, who he had coached with previously, as his next head coach. He ended up with John’s son.
“Sheldon called my principal at Chaparral and asked him about me. The principal said I was too much of a pain in the neck but that he should interview Dave. He saw him as an up-and-coming coach,” John said. “Sure enough, he has been. I was too old school and stuck in my ways.”
The Demons went 8-3 in David’s first year coaching the team in 2013. Under his leadership, Durango teams have amassed a 58-28 record going into this weekend. He has the chance to win his first state title as a coach this Saturday in the Demons’ first trip to the championship since 1988. Durango is 0-3-1 all time in championship games, with the 1954 tie with Lamar giving DHS a claim as co-champions just once in school history.
“It’s just so exciting for the entire community of Durango,” John said.
John was a defensive coach when David and Justin, David’s brother who also coached the Demons before departing for a coaching job in Texas this season, were growing up in New Braunfels, Texas. Those teams never won a state title despite coming close to reaching the big game.
“I grew up going to practices at an early age,” David said. “I got to be part of the team. When I was old enough, I was the ball boy. I was just always around football. I am blessed dad let me do that and always be around it. I learned a lot of lessons.”
David played running back and strong safety in high school. John said David’s personality began to shine through as early as age 2 and it immediately translated to the football field when he was about 10.
“He was a fierce competitor but was never the biggest guy,” John said. “One time in high school, he broke his arm in the first half of a game. One of my friends was the team physician and took him to the hospital to get a cast put on. He came back and played the second half and the rest of the season in that cast. He was always tough, and you see that in his teams now.
“When you build a program, the players become a reflection of the coach. You see that with Durango, no doubt. They are tough, they all really care about each other and have a mutual respect for each other. The results speak for themselves.”
When Keresey hired David, he didn’t know he was also hiring his future son-in-law. David married Colleen Keresey, a volleyball star in her day at DHS before she became the Demons’ longtime volleyball coach. She stepped down before the 2020 season, as she and David welcomed their first child, Troy, in the summer.
John has enjoyed watching his son grow not only as a coach but also as a man during his time in Durango.
“What a year it’s been,” John said. “It’s special for me to watch him grow. When you become a head coach, I don’t care if it is the NFL or high school or college, there is always a learning curve. The good ones get better every year like a fine wine. That’s what Dave is doing. He’s still a young guy. Everybody has their strengths and weaknesses, and I am seeing him improve every single year. The main thing he has is that he is so relatable to his players. There is a huge buy-in with the kids to what he wants to do, and that’s a big deal.”
Justin will fly in from Texas to watch his father and brother coach in this Saturday’s championship games. David’s mother, Patty, was there for the semifinal win last week at Holy Family to cheer on the Demons, and she is eager to see both of her boys coach in the same stadium with the same goal this weekend.
“It’s such an exciting time for Durango and Dave and the whole team,” Patty said. “The Vogt coaches are here ready to go, and I get to see them in action.”