Signing off

Moffat County athletics director retires to work for electronic scoreboard company

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For 27 years, Jim Loughran walked the halls of Moffat County High School.

When he was trying to decide about his future, he walked the halls again.

"I walked and looked around at the school and thought about if it was my time to leave," he said. "There are far more good memories here than bad, and I knew if I left, I would miss it."

Loughran decided his final walks around the school as an employee would be in 2006.

"It was time for something new," he said. "I'm of the opinion that change is good."

Giving back

Loughran went to high school in Craig. After college and six years of teaching in Windsor, he returned to Craig.

He coached and taught for 22 years. He said some of his best times coaching were when the girls basketball teams made it to the state tournament in 1992 and 1993.

"Those were some of my best moments here," he said. "That and getting to see the state championships in wrestling."

He returned to coaching the past two years when the girls soccer team needed a coach.

"When coaching is in your blood, I think you're willing to take on any coaching challenge," he said. "I like to think I helped that program improve."

Improvement was a goal for Loughran during his five-year tenure as athletics director. After his first year as A.D., he had to replace seven head coaches who moved or resigned. Since then, the most he had to replace was two.

"At this point, I really feel like we have a great bunch of coaches across the board," he said. "My goal has been to make Moffat County High School a place were people want to coach."

He said he thinks he's leaving the school athletic department in better shape than when he started.

"In that way, I hope I gave back to the community," he said. "The community gave so much to me when I was growing up, I hope I was able to contribute back."

One job leads to another

Loughran never knew that when he started looking into new scoreboards for the high school sports fields, he would find his next career.

During his time talking to representatives of Daktronics about scoreboards, he learned of a program that is designed for former athletics directors.

"Daktronics hires former athletics directors to help with sales," he said. "(The company) recognizes that we already have a lot of the contacts."

In Loughran's case, he was the president of the Western Slope Athletic Directors Association.

"I know every athletics director on the Western Slope," he said.

The new job will combine two of Loughran's favorite aspects of his position as A.D.: traveling and going to games.

Daktronics is based in Book--ings, S.D., but Loughran will stay in Craig as a company representative for western Colorado and parts of Wyoming.

"It allows me to go to games all over this part of the country," he said. "I'll still get a chance to go to state competitions as well."

He's also a part of the Colorado High School Activities Association's basketball seeding committee. He'll travel to state to watch basketball games to help assign seeds to teams for the state basketball tournament.

"I was able to attend all state championship tournaments except one," he said. "I've enjoyed watching every sport, and it's been fun."

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