CHSCA to Honor 2023 Hall of Fame Inductees Including Jess Downey, Gail Crawford, Ron Shephard



The Colorado High School Coaches Association is excited to announce the 2023 Hall of Fame Class.  This is the 59th class to be inducted.

The class includes: Gary Childress, Kelly Cowan, Gail Crawford, Jess Downey, LaVerne Huston, Gary Osse, and Ron Shepherd.

The class of seven inductees includes two basketball coaches, one baseball coach, two cross country-track coaches, one volleyball coach, and one coach of football, basketball, baseball., and track.  The group combines for over 185 years of head varsity coaching experience.

The induction banquet to recognize this group will be held on Monday, April 17, 2023 at Cielo Castle Pines.  The evening begins with a reception at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m.  Tickets for the event will soon be available for purchase at

The inductees are:

Jess Downey


Jess Downey is Mr. Baseball in southeastern Colorado and beyond.  Most know Coach Downey for what he and his teams have accomplishments at Lamar High School.  During his 11-years as the head baseball coach in Lamar the teams won five state championships and one second place trophy while qualifying for the state tournament nine times.  He started his baseball coaching career at his alma mater Rocky Ford, and had stints as both the head baseball coach and head football coach.  The Meloneer baseball teams won two state championships and a runner up during his five-year stint and the football teams secured a couple of league championships and a trip to state semi’s.  More recently Downey guided the McClave High School baseball team to a 27-19 record.  Although retired, Downey is never totally out of what is happening in baseball in the state of Colorado.  Downey is the husband of Linda and has four adult daughters and two adult sons.

Gail Crawford

Gail Crawford the 1964 graduate of Liberty (Joes) High School immediately found his way back to the eastern plains after graduating from the University of Northern Colorado in 1968.  Crawford spent his entire teaching and coaching career serving the students, athletes, and community of Eads, Colorado.  Along the way Crawford coached most every sport team that took the field or court for the Eagles. Crawford coached teams won state championships in football 1998, girls’ basketball 1984, 1993, and 1994, and girls’ track 1976.  He headed up football for 24 years, boys’ basketball for 14 years, girls’ basketball for 10 years, baseball for 15 years, girls’ track 7 years, boys’ track 5 years, and volleyball 1 year.   Gail and LaDonna the parents of three, still call Eads home today.

Ron Shephard

Ron Shepherd has contributed much of a lifetime to the schools and community of Rocky Ford.  His passion has been in coaching the track and cross-country athletes there.  He has been a head track and field coach for over 40 years and cross-country coach for over 29 years.  Prior to starting his work at Rocky Ford Coach Shepherd coached at Centennial High School in San Luis. He also started the women’s cross-country program at the University of Southern Colorado in 1985.  The boy’s cross-country teams at Rocky Ford have won the state championship team trophy four different times under Coach Shepherd.  Ron and wife Betty have been married for 37 years and have a son Stuart and daughter Mary.

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesEducationEntertainmentFeaturedMedia ReleaseRecreationSchoolYouth


About the Author: