Hardt Named Coach Of The Year


If Chuck Hardt continues to win Coach of the Year awards as he has, he might want to consider adding a trophy room to his home.

Hardt's most recent citation came last week at a track and field coaches clinic held at Mountain Pointe High School in Ahwautkee.

There, the Arizona Coaches Association proclaimed Hardt the Class 3A Conference's most outstanding coach.

Last fall, at the conclusion of the cross country season, he was named the East Coach of the Year for leading the Lady Longhorns to the region championship.

In the spring of 1999, Hardt was tapped the Central Region's best coach. And, in the fall of 1998, he was the Central's cross country top coach. He was proclaimed the region's best track coach in the spring of 1998

That's five COY honors in just two school years. Official records are not kept, but Hardt's mark must be among the best.

Hardt takes the prestigious honors in stride. "They usually go to the (champions) and the last few years we've had the good kids to be champions."

His most recent award -- the 3A's best coach -- came after he led the Lady Longhorns to the 1999 state track championship, ending Safford's national record 13-year hold on the title.

The accolades have been pouring in during the past two campaigns, but Hardt's contributions date back to 1976 when he took his first job as the Payson High School jayvee coach.

Later, he served as the PHS head basketball coach and for several years, the defensive coordinator on the Longhorn football team.

Hardt excelled in basketball and football in the early years but his recent emergence as a standout track and cross country coach is not surprising, said former Arizona Track Coaches Association President Dan Reid.

"Chuck has really grown as a coach," Reid said. "He studies the sport and has become one of the best in the state."

In addition to coaching, Hardt is a science and physical education instructor at Payson High School.

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