Few coaches at any level are as dominant as East High School’s boys’ basketball leader, Rudy Carey. Since 1978, he’s racked up an incredible record of 635-156 and won eight state titles (three with Manual High School, five with East).

The Denver Post reports that Carey’s team isn’t as strong as it has been in previous years and may be more of a spoiler in this year’s tournament. But Carey’s leadership and tenacity, and the way he gets the most out of his players on the floor and in the classrooms, makes him a winner no matter what happens this weekend.

Carey’s basketball pedigree is fully rooted in Colorado. He graduated from East High School and Colorado State University, with his first coaching experience at Gunnison’s Western State. His first high school coaching job was as an assistant at George Washington High School in 1976, and then he went to Manual High School in 1978. He turned a 0-13 team into a 15-win team the next year and claimed the school’s first state championship in 1988. He moved to East in 1993, winning his first state championship there in 1996.

In a separate Denver Post article, Carey’s son David says he doesn’t like coaching against his father. The younger Carey is the basketball coach at Montbello High School. In the six times they’ve faced off, the elder Carey has beaten his son four times, but that doesn’t lessen his respect for the way his son coaches.

“A lot of people will say he got the job because of me, because of who I knew,” Rudy Carey says. “But you have to be able to do the job.”