Aspen lacrosse coaches remembered after dying in avalanche

Life can change on a dime.

Two beloved lacrosse coaches at Aspen High School will never again cheer on their teams from the sidelines.

Mike Goerne and Owen Green were both killed in an avalanche on Saturday.

For Barbie Cottrell, the news is heartbreaking. Cottrell lost her husband when her twin boys were very young.

Coach Goerne helped fill the void. He not only coached her kids, he taught them to be men. Nick Cottrell is now the captain of the lacrosse team at the University of Colorado.

"I think Mike is who helped create Nick. He's such a good leader, a good person, and I think he learned all that from Mike. He mean so much to our kids and me," said Cottrell.

Meanwhile, Owen Green was just 27 years old. He became a JV lacrosse coach just a few years ago. Like Goerne, he also had a love of adventure and all things outdoors.

"He didn't love anything more than fishing. Fishing was his passion," said Kali Kopf, Owen's girlfriend. "He constantly had a goal in mind that he was working toward whether it be a promotion or climbing Mount Raineer or training for the Grand Traverse."

That's how the two men died, training for the Grand Traverse, a 40 mile backcountry ski race. Search crews found their tracks Saturday headed into a fresh avalanche field. Both men were wearing avalanche beacons, but it was too late.

"They were prepared. They're very cautious and prepared for every adventure they went on," said Kopf.

Both men are being remembered for what they accomplished.

The Aspen High School lacrosse team won the state title in 2015 and Goerne was named Colorado State Coach of the Year.

However, they're being remembered even more for the impact they had on others.

Everybody is devastated. They're all saying for the rest of the season they'll play for Mike," said Cottrell.

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