Part of the reason behind the tremendous national success of the Colorado skiing program over the past three decades has been the stability of leadership provided by Richard Rokos and Bruce Cranmer.

After 18 seasons together, that dynamic duo finally is splitting apart.

On Thursday, the university announced that Cranmer, the Buffaloes' head Nordic coach for the past 18 seasons, will retire. His retirement is effective July 1.

Cranmer helped lead the Buffs to national championships as a student-athlete in 1972 and 1973 and was hired by Rokos to lead CU's Nordic program prior to the 2000-01 school year. The Buffs posted the most Nordic points at the NCAA championships seven times under Cranmer's guidance, achieving that feat in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2015. Cranmer coached 12 CU skiers to a total of 18 individual national titles.

Bruce Cranmer
Bruce Cranmer

Prior to his tenure at CU, Cranmer spent 12 seasons as the cross country ski coach at Vermont, winning four national titles.

Cranmer twice was part of the U.S. Skiing coaching staff at the Olympics, serving that role in 1994 in Norway and 1998 in Japan. His grandfather founded the Winter Park Ski Resort, and Cranmer won NBC's Survival of the Fittest in 1985. Thirty Buffs skiers earned a total of 72 first team All-American honors under Cranmer's watch. Thirty-four others were named second team All-American.


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"I don't think I started out thinking, 'Oh, this is what I want to do,'" the 67-year old Cranmer said in a statement. "It was just a passion and a love that I had for my whole life and I just sort of fell into the coaching part because that was offered to me after I quit the U.S. team and coached for 12 years in Vermont and 18 years at CU. It has been super, it was a great opportunity. I can't thank CU and (Rokos) enough for the opportunity and the friendship and camaraderie with everybody."

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07