For a while, it was Coach Dick Hewson who led the boys and girls swim teams at Thompson Valley High School. In more recent days, it was Coach Tom, Dick's son.
While Tom Hewson followed in his father's footsteps as a coach, he was more reluctant to step into his old shoes as an educator.
At least in the beginning, said Tom Hewson, the January 2010 winner of the 9Teachers Who Care award.
"I ran from education as far as I could because my dad did it!" Hewson said. "I love my dad and my dad was an educator here. He taught for 36 years. You know how that is. And I thought, 'I'm going to do something different.'"
After landing a coaching gig at the University of Utah, Hewson became interested in science. When a teaching job opened up at Thompson Valley High School in Loveland, where Tom's father had worked, Tom couldn't ignore the natural fit.
"I thought I was going to be out in a field someday studying ticks and mosquitoes," Hewson, an avid outdoors enthusiast, said. "To end up winding up with kids in the athletic realm and academic role, it's actually been the perfect fit."
In the classroom, Hewson has taught science at TVHS for more than 15 years. Outside of the classroom, Hewson coached the high school's boys swim team to three state championships in 1997, 1998 and 2005 before deciding to coach his own boys at home in the game of life.
It was away from the swimming pool where Hewson noticed a trend with the student athletes.
"I have watched young athletes come in with a great start, and the moment they get the keys and get some free time, the accountability goes down and I see the grades really change [for the worse]," Hewson said.
Hewson piloted with 12 students at TVHS to change that with a program called "Dynamo Hour," which refocuses student athletes' free time toward leadership building and improving GPA.
"It gives them a chance to see what's beyond high school and what's necessary to get there," Hewson said. "It's a coaching role that I don't have anymore since I'm out of swimming."
Hewson's love for the outdoors inspired another program, Colorado Youth Outdoors. The nonprofit organization (www.coloradoyo.org) brings students and their parents together for activities such as fly fishing, fly tying, trap shooting, ice fishing, archery and hiking.
"When you're from Loveland and you look at what we have in our own backyard, the mountains, the rivers, there's a lot of outdoor activity," Hewson said. "We see a lot of kids who don't realize it's there."
"The whole goal is to take the spectator out of the bleachers and put them on the field with the kids. You talk about relationship? That's what happens at CYO," he said.
(Copyright KUSA*TV, All Rights Reserved)