Cherry Creek’s Dave Logan and Ed McCaffrey of Valor Christian had a lot in common even before they coached against each other in the Dec. 1 Class 5A state championship football game at Broncos Mile High Stadium.
Logan and McCaffrey are friends who worked together as the Broncos’ radio play-by-play announcer and color analyst for five seasons. They often talked about high school football during red-eye flights to and from Broncos away games.
Both were wide receivers in the National Football League. Logan, one of only three athletes to be drafted by NFL, NBA and MLB teams, was a standout athlete at Wheat Ridge High School and the University of Colorado. He played nine NFL seasons, eight with the Cleveland Browns and one with the Broncos.
McCaffrey saw action in 13 seasons with the Giants, 49ers and Broncos. He won three Super Bowl rings, two with Denver and one with San Francisco.
The connections, however, end when it comes to coaching high school football.
Logan completed his 26th season of high school coaching and he made his seventh appearance in a state title game. Prior to the title game he had amassed 268 career wins and is the lone coach to win 5A titles at four different schools (Arvada West, Chatfield, Mullen and Cherry Creek).
McCaffrey ended his first season as a high school coach and it was Logan who had a big influence on him applying for the job at Valor Christian.
“I know he loves football and is passionate about it,” said Logan. “We had talked over our five-year partnership about him getting involved in some capacity. I didn’t know it would be this year at Valor. I know he’s got a really good staff and that’s important. It’s a program with a lot of good tradition and players.
“In terms of when you first start there is a reluctance from other high school coaches to accept you if you are not in the mold of a traditional high school coach.
“I experienced some of that. You have to keep you head down and work hard and earn the respect of the other coaches by how you coach, how your players play and how you conduct yourself.”
Logan knows all about the adjustments first-year coaches need to make.
“My first year was 1993 as a head coach and we played Green Mountain in our first game and I ended up calling the same play three consecutive times because I brain-locked in terms of my play sheet and what I wanted to call,” he recalled. “Even though you’ve been around football a long time, there is a little bit of a learning curve for everybody.
“Whenever you take over a program, I don’t care how talented the program is, there’s a process involved. The players have to get to know you, get to know the new coaches. The job Ed and the staff has done is exceptional. They are talented for sure, but it takes more than talent to win games.”
McCaffrey felt welcomed in his debut season.
“In the beginning for me the big challenge was not failing the kids,” said McCaffrey. “I wanted them to have a good experience, learn the game, love each other, play for each other and I wanted to do the best job of preparing them and putting them in a position to win and have success on the field. So there was some pressure there at the beginning.
“Everyone has been cool to me. The other coaches in our league were awesome to me, very welcoming. I didn’t know if I would be accepted or not as the new guy. All I knew going into this is I love football, I wanted to coach. I realized I was blessed because I have a great group of kids. These kids were pretty special in terms of their hard work and selfishness so they made it pretty easy for me. So many of my coaches challenged me, they are incredible intelligent and they are in it for the right reasons to serve and share what they know about football with the young men that play for Valor.”
McCaffrey’s four sons played at Valor and were instrumental in the success of the Eagles football program. Max went on to play at Duke and saw action with NFL while Christian was a standout at Stanford and is playing for the Carolina Panthers. Dylan is a quarterback at Michigan.
Luke, who has committed to play at Nebraska, played his final football for Valor in the state title game and he was also influential in Ed taking over the Valor coaching reins.
“Lisa (Ed’s wife) and I are not going to know what to do with each other,” said McCaffrey. “One of the reasons I wanted to get into coaching at this time is because we will be empty nesters and I will miss the boys being at home and they have moved all over the country and are living their lives.
“Luckily Luke is a lot smarter than me. It’s been tough on me pushing him. Those car rides home are long and he reminds me of all those mistakes I made as a coach but he has a strong disposition, personality. He’s the youngest of four brothers so he’s a pretty tough kid. I’m lucky to get to share this experience with him.”
Luke McCaffrey talks a lot to his dad about football.
“We talk all the time,” said Luke. “We have a good relationship. We can challenge each other and uplift each other.”
Luke says he never felt any pressure from being the youngest of three talented older brothers coming from an athletic family and not once did he feel obligated to participate in athletics.
“They encouraged us no matter what we wanted to do,” said Luke. “It just so happened we all found the same dream and wanted to pursue the same dream. It was really cool see us all bond together and grow closer and we grew up.”
Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 303-566-4083.
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