Coaches Bios: Middle School

CSS Middle School Coaches

Blisse Beardsley, Head MS Girls’ Volleyball, Assistant MS Girls’ Soccer, and 5/6 Girls’ Volleyball

Coach Beardsley has played, watched, and loved volleyball since she was in the 5th grade. She has been the MS volleyball assistant coach at CSS since 2014 and took the reigns as head coach in 2017.  Her coaching philosophy is based around teaching basic skills and encouraging a joy for the game while building confidence and teamwork. She grew up on Mackinac Island, MI, then graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelors of Arts Degree and went on to earn her teaching certificate at Eastern Michigan University. Coach Beardsley moved to Colorado Springs in 2014 and enjoys coaching and teaching Math at CSS, while also discovering new places to explore.

Andrew Collins, Assistant MS Boys’ Basketball and Lacrosse

Coach Collins makes his debut as the new Physical Education teacher while assisting with the boys’ middle school basketball and lacrosse teams.  His love for basketball came as a result of his childhood environment. He was born at Duke Hospital and spent his early years in Chapel Hill, NC, as an avid Duke Basketball fan.  With experience in coaching and playing basketball, Coach Collins looks forward to sharing his passion for all things basketball with the boys. In addition to basketball, Coach Collins has been involved in coaching lacrosse, volleyball and flag football. He attended the University of Miami in Florida for his undergraduate work before earning a M.A. in PE from the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York City.  This will be his first year living and working in Colorado and hopes to be around a long time!

Stan Dobnikar, Head MS Boys’ Basketball, and 5/6 Grade Boys’ Basketball

Coach Dobnikar is a fan of basketball and a student of the game, soaking in as much as possible whenever he can. While playing high school ball at Raytown South H.S. in Kansas City, he was fortunate to play for HOF coach Warren “Bud” Lathrop, one of the winningest coaches in the state of Missouri.  His commitment to the program in the past few years has shown through his hard work and meaningful relationships with the players, including his son Hayden who is a seventh grader. Coach Dobnikar is an expert with teaching the fundamentals of basketball. His attention to detail and aim for excellence have complemented his patient, nurturing, yet disciplined coaching style. He takes pride in Kodiak athletics and it shows when he steps on the court. Coach Dobnikar has also coached Little League Baseball for four years, and he bleeds KU blue.

Tim Ferguson, Co-Head MS Mountain Biking

Coach Ferguson joined the coaching staff in 2017 and is excited to share his passion for cycling with the Kodiaks. He enjoys both mountain biking and road biking, and living in Cheyenne Canyon provides quick access to excellent single track mountain biking trails, as well as steep roads to climb with his road bike. Recently, he and his wife Sarah embarked on a long-distance bike trip that started in Salida, CO, and concluded in Taos, NM. This past summer, they participated in the Subaru Elephant Rock Cycle Series and completed the 40-mile loop around the area of Castle Rock. As a 5th-grade classroom teacher, Mr. Ferguson  established after-school bike clubs that motivated students to ride their bikes around the streets of their neighborhood.  He graduated from UCCS and Colorado College MAT.

Eric Gaylord, Head MS Cross Country 

Coach Gaylord grew up running cross country and track in middle and high school and continued competing in road races, half marathons, and triathlons throughout college and as an adult. He coached high school track and cross country in California for eight years prior to moving to Colorado Springs in 2012, where he coached MS cross country alongside Coach Walker. Although his knees no longer allow him to put in as many miles alongside his athletes, he remains passionate about the sport and is excited to re-connect with the team after being away for a few years. His coaching emphasizes the development of camaradarie, health and wellness, and the the personal satisfaction that comes with type II fun (exerting effort in pursuit of one’s goals while celebrating the subsequent successes). He deeply believes that the psychological practices and fortitude one develops through the sport of cross country can impact all areas of life. A runner develops perseverance and the positive self-image that results from tangible self-improvement; these traits are foundational to future success and lead to greater happiness and productivity in life. After holding administrative roles at CSS, Coach Gaylord now teaches 6th and 7th grade Science and high school Environmental Science. He earned a B.S. degree from Oregon State University and an M.S. degree from New Mexico State University.

Thalley Lindeman, Assistant MS Girls’ Volleyball

Coach Lindeman began at CSS in 2017 as the MS Mathematics teacher.  She quickly joined the MS volleyball coaching staff eager to learn more about the sport while providing support for the girls on the team.  Mrs. Lindeman moved to Colorado Springs from Atlanta, GA, to continue her teaching career at CSS.  She enjoys the abundance of outdoor opportunities here in Colorado, such as hiking, trail running, and walking her dog.  Mrs. Lindeman competed in college for the Varsity Equestrian team, and she advanced to Nationals on the Medal Team.  Most impressively, she has run five marathons, one of which was the Boston Marathon in 1999.  Her past also includes competitions in team adventure races, such as mountain biking, trail running, canoeing, and orienteering.

Geddy Marple, Assistant MS Boys’ Soccer

Coach Marple joins the Kodiak coaching staff after graduating from CSS in 2016.  Marple was an asset to the soccer team for four years as a defensive specialist.  He competed in soccer throughout his career as a Kodiak, which was a total of 8 years, learning the fundamentals from Coach White.  He is excited to have this opportunity to give back to the program in a new role as a coach.  Coach Marple is pursuing a career in music, his other passion besides soccer, with an emphasis on playing the drums.  He often returns to CSS with drumsticks in his hands, joining the pep band at volleyball and basketball games.

 

Kristin Penn, Assistant MS Cross Country

Kristin Penn has a lifetime passion for being active outdoors and in particular sharing that passion with others. She joined CSS in the 2018-’19 school year as the assistant coach of the MS cross country team.   Kristin swam in high school and took up running while in college.  She has also competed in numerous triathlons.  She has become a passionate trail and cross country runner and has competed in many trail marathons, half marathons and other long distance runs.  Since moving to Colorado Springs in 2016, she has enjoyed the trails in Cheyenne Canyon and also races such as the Pikes Peak Ascent. If given a choice, she would rather be out running on a trail with her German Short Haired Pointer than most anywhere else.  In 2017 she was instrumental in bringing the Landsharks program back to CSS. She enjoys spending time with her family including hiking, backpacking, running and biking.  In 2019, Penn earned certification from the USATF as a Cross Country Specialist. Professionally, Kristin works as a recruiter and business operations specialist for Prioricare, a Denver based healthcare staffing company.  She has her undergraduate from Denver University and her MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University.

Caleb Strickland, Assistant MS Girls’ Basketball, and 5/6 Grade Girls’ Basketball

Coach Strickland has been involved in basketball at various levels for the last 35 years.  He began competing in basketball in Indiana at the age of 2 and instantly fell in love with the game.  In high school, Coach Strickland advanced to the final four in the Indiana State tournament while setting a school record for wins in a season.  He was also a Converse All-Star and finished third nationally with his AAU team.  Coach Strickland competed at the collegiate level for Indiana University Southeast where he won two conference championships and appeared in two national tournaments.  During his collegiate career, Coach Strickland received an offer to play at the professional level in Mexico but declined the offer to focus on academics.  Since graduating from college, he has been working as an engineer in the Microelectronics industry while always finding time to stay involved with basketball.  Teaching kids to maximize their potential both on and off the court is his true passion.  This is Coach Strickland’s first year as a part of the CSS coaching staff, and he is very excited to work in the CSS community where his daughter Adelaide attends school.

Roger Tucker, Head MS Boys’ Lacrosse 

Before his retirement in 2018, Coach Tucker was a middle school science teacher at CSS since 1998, when he also began coaching the MS boys’ lacrosse team.  He was instrumental in establishing the initial lacrosse program, and his coaching at the middle school and varsity levels led to numerous winning seasons, often competing against schools and clubs in the Denver and Colorado Springs area. His coaching style incorporates hard work and attention to the fundamentals, and his love for working with young people is apparent.  Coach Tucker also led the acclaimed 8th grade Walkabout seminar at CSS, where the students explore the Utah deserts and rivers while working on group dynamics and self-assurance.  His experience with raptors and wildlife enlightened many classroom discussions over the years, and he is now enjoying sharing his passion for birds with the general public as a hired falconer.

Vicki VaughanHead MS Girls’ Basketball, and 5/ 6 Grade Girls’ Basketball

Coach Vaughan has been coaching basketball for over 30 years. Prior to joining the Kodiaks (2001), she was an assistant coach with the Air Force Academy women’s basketball program where she helped to recruit and to coordinate the Falcons’ summer basketball camps. Before moving to Colorado, Coach Vaughan served seven years as a head coach at Lincoln College in Illinois where her teams gained national NJCAA recognition, and she coached several All-Americans. In 2018 Lincoln College inducted her into the Hall of Fame for her successful stint as a coach. She was the first American to coach professional basketball in Ireland, where her Blarney team won four titles, and she was named IBBA Coach of the Year. Coach Vaughan competed in basketball at Illinois State University where she captained a team that reached post-season play all four seasons and won two MVC titles.  At ISU, Vaughan completed her B.S. in English Education and M.S. in Physical Education. In 2013, she was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, and Lawrenceburg High School most recently inducted her into their HOF (2019).   She was awarded the Mary Flynn Flemke Leadership in Education Award in 2017 for her accomplishments in the education of students and the advancement of CSS.

Kelly Walker, Co-Head MS Mountain Bike 

Coach Walker began coaching cross-country at CSS in the fall of 2009 and was influential in building a competitive program.  This year she is transitioning into a new position and coaching the mountain bike team, a sport that she has enjoyed most of her lifetime.  Coach Walker is a familiar face around campus as she enjoys capturing CSS students in action from behind the camera lens, especially on the playing fields. She graduated from UCCS with a B.A. in Communications, where she also competed in cross-country and was named RMAC All-Conference her senior season.  Coach Walker has run the Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent several times, placing in the top of her age category. She has also competed in various cycling competitions around the state, including mountain biking and cyclocross. During the summer of 2019, Walker earned certification from the USATF as a Cross Country Specialist. A former national champion snowboarder in slalom and half-pipe events, she is also an avid outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hiking, cycling, snowboarding, and running.

Amos White, Head MS Boys’ and Girls’ Soccer

Coach White has 38 seasons of soccer coaching experience. This includes coaching boys and girls teams at the middle and high school levels in Colorado and Maine.  He was also an instructor at or directed soccer camps in Colorado, Texas, and New York. He earned his National Diploma from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and was the 2014 Colorado High School 3A Region 1 Soccer Coach of the Year. Amos was a three-year varsity starter for Houghton College in New York and contributed to it winning three conference titles and a regional runner-up finish. His senior year, he was chosen by his teammates and coaches to serve in a leadership role as Chaplain. In 1993, he was honored with the Houghton College Sportsmanship Award, given to the athlete chosen out of all varsity programs who best exemplified the college’s ideals in intercollegiate competition. Amos played high school soccer for John Bapst High School in Maine, where he was a two-year captain and earned All-Conference and All-Eastern Maine Class C honors three times and All-State recognition one year for his play at midfield.  His strengths as a coach include emphasizing fundamentals and teaching offensive and defensive tactics. Amos has served as a teacher or administrator in the CSS Middle School since the fall of 1998.