Caton named men's basketball coach

By Doug Fitzgerald published March 21, 2006

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs athletic department announced Tuesday that Russ Caton had been named the school's new men's basketball coach.

Caton has served as Adams State coach Larry Mortensen's top assistant the past two years. In 2005-06, the Grizzlies improved to 13-15 (10-9 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) after going 3-24, 3-16 the previous season. He was previously as assistant at Adams State in 1997-98.

Caton, 30, was the head coach at Moffat High School in 1999-2000, helping the Cowboys to their best record in school history and a consolation bracket championship at the State Tournament. A year later, Caton returned to Alamosa High School, from which he graduated in 1993, and served as the head coach.

"Our goal at UCCS is to put competitive teams on the floor without compromising the academic mission of the university," said UCCS athletic director Stephen W. Kirkham. "Russ Caton was that type of athlete and has been that type of coach. We are confident that he will help us produce outstanding teams both on and off the court."

While at Adams State, Caton was deeply involved with recruiting, teaching post play and conducting the team's strength and conditioning program. Two Adams State forwards, Roman Moniak (first team) and Wes Jensen (second team) were named to the All-RMAC West Division team this past season.

"Russ Caton filled every criteria we were looking for in a coach," said UCCS assistant athletic director Doug Fitzgerald, who chaired the search committee that also included community members Lynn Barry and Kent Freudenberg, faculty member David Moon, faculty athletics representative Charlie Shub, women's basketball coach Jessika Stratton and P.J. Forrest, a senior on the 2005-06 Mountain Lions men's basketball team. "He's familiar with both Division II and the RMAC, he has deep Colorado connections and roots and he's ready to make the step up to head coach."

An All-State player while in high school, Caton helped Alamosa High School to two state championships and then moved on to Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, earning All-Region IX honors in his sophomore season. He transferred to Division I Southern Utah, where he played for the Thunderbirds during the 1995-96 season.

A 6-foot-5 forward, Caton then returned to Alamosa for his senior year, leading Adams State in scoring with 18.3-points per game. He also led the team in assists with 72 and averaged 7.4 rebounds per game, the second best mark on the team. For his efforts, Caton was named second-team All-RMAC.

An outstanding student, Caton completed his degree in exercise physiology and leisure studies with an emphasis sports management in December of that year (1997).

He and his wife of 11 years, Bethany, have four children. His three oldest children are sons Tyson, 10, Ethan, 9, and Jaden, 7. Daughter Sylvie is 4.

 

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P.J. ForrestP.J. Forrest05G
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