When former Colorado High School Activities Association assistant Commissioner Bert Borgmann died Jan. 9, Skyview girls basketball coach Chris Kemm summed up the feelings of many who are involved in high-school athletics in Colorado.
“Nooooo. Not another friend and one of the good guys,” Kemm tweeted. “My heart hurts. Bert helped me elevate my voice for high-school basketball in Colorado.”
“Shocked and saddened by the passing of retired CHSAA assistant commissioner Bert Borgmann,” tweeted Cherry Creek High Schol Athletic Director Jason Wilkins. “Bert was a big deal and really good for kids. He advanced Colorado and put his soul into his work. Bert helped me out a great number of times. He is a legend in Colorado high-school sports”
Borgmann, who spent 33 years with CHSAA before retiring in 2021, died of complications from recent surgery. He was 67. His son,. Logan, made the announcement on Facebook.
"On Monday Jan. 9, at approximately 6 p.m., our father, Bert Borgmann, the strongest man I’ve ever known, left this mortal plane and went to be with our mom," the post read. "The loss of my father was a surprise and definitely has been a very difficult time. We will miss him dearly and know that his influence and mentorship spread far and wide."
"My dad was one of the best people I’ve ever known. He was selfless and caring. He loved sports and his family more than anything. I won’t remember him the way I’ve seen him the past few days, but I’ll remember him the way he looked when he walked me down the aisle on my wedding day," said Borgmann's daughter, Callie Kryder, on Facebook. "The way he danced with me to a song picked out by my mom before she passed. I’ll remember the way he looked when Kyle and I told him that we were expecting. And the way I knew his smile lit up when we told him that we were having a baby girl."
"We lost a great man and massive influence on CO High School Basketball. RIP," said Rangeview basketball coach Shawn Palmer on Twitter.
CHSAANow.com recounted Borgmann's many awards during his 33-year tenure at CHSAA. He received the Jim Saccomano Award (National Football Federation – Colorado Chapter), the Ray Lutz Award (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference), is a member of the Colorado Dugout Club Hall of Fame (Colorado Baseball Coaches Association), received the NFHS Section 6 Citation Award for outstanding contribution to the mission of the NFHS, served as chair and acting member of the NFHS Press Committee and was a Lifetime Honorary Member of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials Board 4.
"The hearts of the CHSAA family are breaking tonight at the loss of a true champion for high school sports and activities," tweeted CHSAA Commissioner Mike Krueger. "Rest in peace and love my dear friend. Thank you for epitomizing servant leadership."
"Wanna pass my deepest condolences to the family of Bert Borgmann, who passed away," said Altitude Sports personality Vic Lombardi. "Bert was the backbone of CHSAA for so many years. A remarkable career serving youth in Colorado high-school sports."
"So heartbreaking to lose a good man," said Virginia Lorbeer, who helped Borgmann run the state basketball tournaments for several years.
“When I started as an AD, Bert was always there to talk to and get guidance from,” said Horizon’s Marty Tonjes on Twitter. “Loved our conversations about everything Colorado sports. He loved the preps.”
Borgmann grew up in Broomfield, graduated from Colorado State University and lived in Aurora.
"Sad to hear of the passing of Eagle hoops alum (class of ‘74) and long-time CHSAA administrator Bert Borgmann," read a tweet from the Broomfield High School boys' basketball team. "He was so influential in Colorado high-school sports for decades."
Like a lot of people involved in high-school sports, Jeffco School District Sports Information Director Dennis Pleuss was shocked and saddened.
"Bert was a friend and mentor since 1997 when I started covering prep sports in CO. Prayers and thoughts to his family," he tweeted.
"Words cannot describe the sadness right now. I'm not doing what I do if not for Bert. This has been an unbelievably devastating week," said ColoradoPreps.com Editor Dan Mohrmann.
CPR News host Vic Vela tweeted, “What a stunning loss. Bert Borgmann was such a nice man and was so good to me as a reporter looking to get in touch with people involved in Colorado Preps.”
"Bert Borgmann and I have been friends since 1977. He and I had a lot of laughs, and many rounds of golf together," said high-school basketball official Guy Blasi on Facebook. "I am stunned. Sad is not the appropriate word."
"Bert was a supremely good dude who cared deeply about high-school athletes. What a devastating loss for Colorado," tweeted Matt Meyer, former prep writer for the Grand Junction Sentinel.
Ryan Casey was a former assistant commissioner at CHSAA and worked alongside Borgmann before joining MaxPreps.
"He was a key part of helping to make CHSAA into a modern state association," Casey tweeted. "He was hired in 1988, and helped lead big change in the association. He started the hall of fame. He oversaw most every sport by the time he retired in 2021."
Despite Borgmann’s supervision of most of the sports and activities through CHSAA, Casey said Borgmann's favorite sport may have been baseball.
"I can picture him in the press box at All-City Field on some early June morning, awaiting the state championships. He always had a story to share, and someone to share it with," Casey tweeted. “Bert had an affinity for the history of CHSAA. The office has a massive room dedicated to archives from its 100-plus year history, some of the literally loose papers from the founding in 1921. But it always felt like he remembered more than what could fit in that room."
"Damn that is terrible news on Bert," said Riverdale Ridge parent Gordon Lancaster, who's also involved with the Brighton Youth Baseball and Softball Association. "He helped me get my first press credential writing for rivals and showed me how to navigate (high-school) media back in the early 2000s. Sad to hear. Dude was a passionate advocate for high school sports in Colorado."
Service arrangements are incomplete. His wife, Alexandra Hays, predeceased him. Survivors include his two children, Logan and Callie, and his grandson, Connor.
"Bert had a huge impact on high-school athletics not only here in Colorado, but across the NFHS (National Federation of High Schools) more broadly. He will be missed," Casey tweeted.
"I’m devastated that I won’t get to see him hold my baby girl and soothe her the way he soothed my nephew," Krider said on Facebook "I’m broken-hearted that he’ll never get to know her and that my little girl won’t have any grandparents on mom’s side. I hope she gets his hardworking attitude and his loyalty, because those are things I admired most about him. I know he’s reunited with the love of his life, and they can look down on us and that they’ll always be here."