Former Payson Coach Makes It To 5a Championship

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Friday night's Class 5A state football championship game in ASU's Sun Devil stadium pits Mesa Red Mountain against Mesa Westwood.

On the Red Mountain sideline will be former Payson High School coach Dan Dunn (1992-1994) who now works as an assistant for his good friend Jim Jones the Mountain Lions' head coach.

After leaving Payson to return to the Valley, Dunn now a semi-retired math teacher at Mesa College helped build the once lowly Red Mountain program into a state championship contender.

In the '70s, Dunn coached Gilbert High School to a state championship and went on to serve a successful stint at Mesa College.

Last summer, Jones and Dunn brought the RM team to Payson for a passing league tournament. At the time, Dunn hinted the Mountain Lions were going to field a very good team.

Dunn spent most of the weekend huddled with his fellow coaches plotting a game plan they hope will help defeat Westwood and earn the school its first state championship.

The Sun Devil Stadium sidelines are familiar territory for Dunn. In the early 1960s, he played for coach Frank Kush at Arizona State and is a Sun Devil alumnus.

This time around, the stadium is much bigger and the field has been named after Dunn's old coach.

Other good news from the Dunn family, is that daughter Amy a former PHS student/athlete will graduate this spring from Arizona State University with a perfect 4.00 grade-point average.

Thank you

Since I wrote in this column one week ago about the cruel poisoning death of our family's 11-year old Golden Retriever "Moggie," we've received a flood of sympathy from readers and friends.

Your compassion is sincerely appreciated.

One of the most touching condolences we received was "The Rainbow Bridge."

It read:

"There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth. It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of its many colors. Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge, there is a land of meadows, hills and valleys with lush green grass.

"When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place. There is always food and water and warm spring weather. The old and frail animals are young again. Those who are maimed are whole again. They play all day with each other.

"There is only one thing missing. They are not with their special person who loved them on Earth. So, each day they run and play until the day comes when one suddenly looks up! The nose twitches. The ears are up. The eyes are staring. And this one suddenly runs from the group.

"You have been seen, and when you and your special friend meet, you take him in your arms and embrace. Your face is kissed again and again and again, and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet.

"Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together, never again to be separated."

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