Sandra Rae Badger was involved in teaching from an early age, helping to teach swim lessons as a child. Earning a Bachelor of Science in physical education at the University of Southern Colorado, now Colorado State University Pueblo, in 1969, she began her career as the head women’s swimming coach for Mitchell High School and Doherty High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that same year, taking over from her teacher supervisor following her time student teaching. She remained in this role until 1990 and also taught in the department of health education at Doherty High School. Joining Colorado College to pursue a Master of Arts in arts and humanities, she served as a coach for one- and three-meter springboard diving at the college until her graduation in 1979, whereupon she became head of the department of health education at Doherty High School, serving until 2000.
A certified teacher in the state of Colorado with secondary endorsement in health and physical education, Ms. Badger sought continuing education throughout her career. She achieved certification as a scuba diving instructor from the National Association of Scuba Diving Schools in 1976, followed by scuba instructor certification from PADI in 1980. Between 1980 and 1991, she completed postgraduate coursework at Adams State University. In 1996, Ms. Badger retired from teaching to assist her husband, Graeme B. Badger, as an assistant coach for men’s and women’s cross country and track at the University of Colorado, a position she continues to holds to this day. She also works as a cashier at Walmart, which she enjoys greatly, because it allows her to be out in her community and interacting with others.
Ms. Badger attributes much of her success to her ability to reach the goals she has set for herself throughout the years. Furthermore, she notes that a teacher’s or coach’s success can be measured by the successes of their students and athletes. She had the good fortunate to have a number of her swimmers participate in a study with the Colorado Springs Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, and it has been a joy to watch them all go on and excel in their careers. Looking toward the future, she is considering getting involved in teaching again and has plans for writing a second book. Her first book, a children’s book called “The Tales of Pepper the Dog,” was published in 2013.
In addition to her primary career responsibilities, Ms. Badger has contributed her skills to a number of other professional endeavors. Holding membership with the National Education Association and the Colorado Springs Education Association, she has also been involved with health and fitness conferences, served as a trainer for a variety of sports education programs, and held several positions with the American Red Cross in Colorado Springs. Additionally, she has aided in the creation of sports safety training courses with both the American Red Cross and the International Olympic Committee and helped to update their Sports Safety Training Manuel Handbook in 2004. Ms. Badger has been involved in U.S. Master’s Swimming since 2018 and works to maintain the Badger Family Scholarship Fund.
First recognized for her excellence with two Coach of the Year Awards by the Colorado Springs Gazette in 1979 and 1984, Ms. Badger was presented with a Service Award from the American Red Cross and named a Gamesfield grantee in 1985. She later received the CARE Award form the state of Colorado in 1988, a grant from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in 1990 and was nominated as a Reader’s Digest National Teacher of the Year for 1998-1999. In addition to these awards, she is incredibly proud of her student athletes who have exceled in national and international championships. On three occasions in the 1980s, she took a team to the World Cross Country Championships in Europe. Reflecting her own excellence in swimming, Ms. Badger placed second during an international scuba competition in 1967.