by Michelle Ancell 

Honoring Coach Doyle 


With Don Doyle and Michelle Ancell in Aurora, Colorado.

Aurora Central High School has a tradition of honoring its former coaches and athletes by inducting them into the Legends Hall of Fame. This year, the Friends of Aurora Central High School alumni association and Aurora Central High School are proud to honor a long-time teacher and swim coach, Don Doyle.

“Coach Doyle’s had a tremendous impact on both athlete and student. His dedication in making education a priority was evident in every interaction…whether in the classroom, swim practice or school functions,” said Steve Hesser, president of the Friends of Aurora Central High School alumni association.

“I remember his classes sitting together at basketball games not only to support the Trojan team, but also to offer extra credit if students brought homework and questions. Those traits of school and student focus are the lasting legacy of Coach Doyle,” Hesser said.

Doyle worked as a math teacher at Aurora Central from 1981 to 2004. He taught all levels of math classes, from pre-algebra through calculus. During that time, he also served as the diving coach, and at times, the head swim coach.

While he was involved with the swimming and diving program, 46 swimmers and divers qualified for the state championships. The Aurora Central girls’ swim team won the City Championships five years in row, from 1998 to 2003. His athletes annually had a team GPA of 3.2 – or higher. Three years the team was ranked, by GPA, in the top five teams in all of Colorado High School Activities Association – in all sports.

Doyle was the Continental League Coach of the Year three times, the Colorado High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year once, the Colorado High School Swim Coaches Association Coach of the Year five times. He was named a Teacher Who Makes a Difference by News Center 4 and the Rocky Mountain News in 1990, and won numerous Principal’s Awards at Aurora Central for teaching.

During Desert Storm in 1991, Doyle, who served in the U. S. Army Reserves, was deployed to the Middle East, assigned to the 18th Airborne Corp. During that time, he was standing on top of a gas tanker helping to coordinate a move when a bomb exploded, likely a cluster bomb. He was blown off the top of the truck, shattering his pelvis. He eventually ended up in a hospital in Germany.

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Michelle Ancell and friends attending the Aurora Central High School Alumni Associaton Legends Dinner Honoring Don Doyle at Aurora Central High School.

Upon his return home to Colorado, he walked through the gangway of Stapleton Airport to be greeted by a crowd of students and teachers from Aurora Central welcoming home their beloved teacher and hero.

But the greatest part of Doyle’s legacy cannot be quantified through a resume, awards, or numbers.
Through math homework, Interact (student Rotary) projects, lessons in the classroom and long talks on the pool deck, Doyle taught kids about life. He taught hundreds, if not thousands, of students about reaching goals, being responsible, loving themselves and growing tough.

A note from Mike Dukart, one of Doyle’s divers, is indicative of the impact he had on students’ lives.
“After high school there were so many occasions that I would refer to what you had taught me to help make good decisions,” he wrote to Doyle “….I think of you often, and know that you played a critical role in shaping the moral compass that helps to guide my path.”

Even Aurora Central students who never had Doyle as a teacher remember him, mostly with fondness, in the hallways yelling, “T-A-R-D-Y, you ain’t got no alibi – you’re tardy!”


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