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Rudy Carey

Inducted 2024

For Rudy Carey, it isn’t about just winning, it’s about how his teams win, and the lessons taught along the way. It must have been the right way to go during his storied career. On December 13, 2022, Carey became the all-time winningest coach in Colorado boys basketball history, breaking the previous record of Dick Katte with win number 877 against Ponderosa.

The 2022-23 season did not start the way Carey would have wished, dropping the first two. But the veteran coach – in a cool, calm demeanor – made a couple of tweaks to his lineup and watched as his team reeled off 26-straight wins, the last of which was a record 10th CHSAA title (passing the great Ron Vlasin, who won nine titles). The wins came as result of hard work, experience and knowing when to give tough love. He did it with a roster of kids that did not include a Division-1 college player, just a group of smart kids who learned how to play team basketball from the best.

Carey played his college ball at Colorado State and learned a great deal under the tutelage of the great J.J. Williams. Carey then spent time as a graduate assistant at Western State, then on to George Washington before finding his way back to Denver. Much of what he learned also came from Regis head coach Lonnie Porter, who Carey credits for being an ultimate mentor.

Once back in the Mile High City, Carey began a legacy that is unmatched. In 1979, Carey became the head coach of Manual High School and led them to three state titles with great players like Chucky Sproling and Johnnie Reece.

Although coaching at Manual led to great success, Carey couldn’t resist the chance to return to his alma mater, Denver East High School to coach the Angels.
At East it became a ritual to win and do it with class by playing the right way, team basketball. Along the way, stars emerged from East, players like Dom Collier, J.B. Bickerstaff and Brian Carey.

But what separated Rudy Carey, is his ability to take a squad and mold them into winners. To point, his 2022-23 championship team also had 10 players with a 4.0 GPA. Under Carey, players must win in the classroom first, then on the basketball court.

Not only did the 2022-23 season see Carey pass Katte for most wins and then Vlasin for the most state titles, but Carey was also named the High School Coach of the Year for leading the Angels to their 12th overall title and 7th under his guidance.

At 70 years old Rudy Carey knows the end will come soon enough, but not quite yet, as he still has more to finish. This season represents his 46th coaching high school basketball in Colorado, but it’s not titles and wins that he’ll remember most. Instead, Carey cherishes the kids he’s coached and having an impact on their lives along the way. Always thinking about greater good, Rudy Carey is the latest inductee into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.

By Todd Romero

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