“This man is so much more than just a coach or teacher, he is someone that has impacted and touched everyone and anyone’s life beyond anything they thought imaginable… I mean you can’t go anywhere without someone walking up to him and shaking his hand with the biggest smile on their face, just further proving how significant of an individual he is in all of our lives.” Paonia High School senior Carly Horn, Paonia.
“You rarely meet a person that has left a mark on so many people.” Paonia High School alumna Poppy Lightfoot.
“This man provided me with the best years and happiest moments of my life. He is the coach of all coaches on and off the court.” Haylee Graham, De Beque High School alumna and basketball player.
These are but a few of the testimonials posted to social media about Scott Rienks. A father, husband, brother and more, since arriving at Paonia High School from De Beque in the fall of 2007, Rienks has been a beloved mentor, teacher, head girls basketball coach, head and assistant football coach and assistant track coach.
His motto: “Refuse to lose.”
The recent announcement of his diagnosis of stage 4 colon cancer is sending shock waves through the Paonia community and beyond. It has reached the community of De Beque where he coached the boys basketball team to its first state title, and the community of students, teachers, friends and athletes whose lives he has touched. All have responded with well wishes, offers to help and countless prayers. The PHS homecoming parade was dedicated to him, and the 50-yard line of the Dan Lawrence football field was decorated in his honor at last Friday’s game against Coal Ridge.
Rienks has made a big mark on high school sports. He has been named basketball coach of the year by the Colorado High School Activities Association four times — in 2017 when the Paonia girls were undefeated; in 2010 when they won their first state title (daughter Jordyn was named 2A Player of the Year), and twice as boys head coach at De Beque High School — in 1997, and in 1998 when the Dragons won the 1A state title.
With so many people reaching out and offering prayers, well wishes and support, the Facebook page “Rienksstrong” has been established to provide updates and information on Rienks and his family.
Here are a few ways to support “Coach Rienks”:
On Oct. 18, Paonia High School will change its annual “Pink Night” volleyball matches against the Meeker Cowboys to a fundraiser for Rienks and his family. The event will offer “many opportunities to support and help.” Since 2010 the event has raised funds for cancer victims and their families through HopeWest, pairing the games with a celebration of the power of hope and bringing communities together. Individuals and businesses wishing to support the event can contact Kriss Allen at 970-234-2965 or 970-527-4882, or email kallen@delta
schools.com. “We hope to create another memorable event, continue to raise awareness for all types of cancer, and show Mr. Rienks and his family our emotional and financial support,” wrote Allen in announcing the event.
On Nov. 6, the PHS choir program will host a benefit concert. Admission will be $10 per person, and Holt said she plans on “bringing back some alumni.” “We were all definitely blind sided by this news,” said Holt. “I’m hoping because he’s so young and in such good shape that that will improve his outcome.”
On Nov. 16, a “Rally4Rienks” event involving Plateau Valley, De Bequie and Paonia schools and “the many communities that love and support this family,” is planned.
On Dec. 14 the De Beque Dragons will donate admission and concession proceeds from the De Beque-Plateau Valley basketball games, and the Jan. 29 De Beque/Paonia games.
Refuse to Lose/RienksStrong T-shirts can be ordered at locerroomcolo.com.
A website with a donation link is in the works, with all proceeds to benefit #rienksstrong.