John Vandelinder: Thanks, Rick |

John Vandelinder: Thanks, Rick

John Vandelinder

As you all know by now, our former, supposed fearless sports leader, Moffat County High School Athletic Director Rick Penner, has gone bye-bye.



Good riddance. It’s been nice to almost know you. Since you obviously aren’t answering your phone, or the phone so graciously given to you by the high school, I figured that maybe the best way to reach you would be through a letter.

So here it is:

Dear Rick,

Where you at?

C’mon, big dog, it’s only been three weeks.

What happened? Did all of us Craigites get to ya?

You came into town, guns a-blazing, but you left like a thief in the middle of the night.

I remember when you started – which isn’t hard because it was less then a month ago – claiming you would be here “hopefully until you retire.” Little did I, or the rest of Craig, realize that your retirement was going to be in three weeks.

What happened to being “powerful as one” and creating a “synergy” between academics and athletics? Maybe you combining your first paycheck with a big trip to Denver was the “synergy” you meant.

You said, “I’ve passed through Craig thousands of times, and it’s a town I could really see myself settling down in.” Obviously you didn’t settle down. In fact, did you even pay your first month’s rent? And if so, I hope wherever you rented charged a security deposit.

Because, you flew the coop.


Fled the scene.

You said when you got hired that, “The kids at Moffat County have spirit, spunk and a hard work ethic” – which is more than I can say about you. The school board put its faith in you – as did every sports fan in Craig (myself included) – to guide the Bulldog athletic program into the future. And all you did was show us what disappointment looks like – about 50 years old, receding hairline hidden in a goofy haircut and a handlebar mustache.

That said, on behalf of the town, I want to thank you.

Thanks for wasting the Craig Police Department’s man hours searching for you while you were holed-up only God knows where in Denver.

Thanks for hiring the three coaches who walked into your office – David Fleming, Rusty Cox and Dave Rodriguez. You didn’t do any research when you picked them, but, thankfully for us, they happen to be the best men for the job.

And finally, thank you so, so much for running away with your tail between your legs, because as of Thursday we’ve got an athletic director who knows what he’s doing.

Make us proud, Matt Ray.

You talked a great game, Rick, but you couldn’t back it up.

One word of advice: Wherever you land next, don’t let your mouth write checks that you can’t cash.

John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or