The Arizona Coaches Association All-Star games that have showcased the talents of high school athletes for decades are giving up their Eastern Arizona College digs.
Beginning this summer, the games will be played in Casa Grande at either Central Arizona College or Casa Grande Union High School.
To attract the games to Casa Grande, a group of the city's businessmen, including mayor Bob Mitchell, founded Arizona High School All-Star Games Committee, Inc. over a year ago.
After the committee got its feet wet on the in's and out's of the star games, the group made a presentation to the Arizona Coaches Association, publicity chairman Paul Beatty said. As sponsors of the all-star games, the ACA first hosted the games at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, but moved them to EA 12 years ago.
In the committee's presentation, spokesmen requested the games be relocated from the campus of EA college in Thatcher to Casa Grande.
The committee was able to convince the coaches the Casa Grande site was more convenient than Thatcher.
"Casa Grande has such easy access -- 45 miles south of Phoenix and 65 miles north of Tucson --which could mean larger crowds," Beatty said.
Another selling point for the switch, he added, was a number of suitable facilities in Casa Grande.
Central Arizona College dormitories will house the athletes during the all-star practice week leading up to the games. Star teams can use either Union High School or the college to practice.
The agreement between the ACA and AHSAG to hold the games in Casa Grande is for five years.
"We expect it to be a big event," Beatty said.
The 2000 games have been scheduled for June 2 to 10.
Over 400 athletes representing all areas of the state are chosen for the all-star honors by coaches at the conclusion of each sports season.
For the actual competition, the state has been traditionally split into North and South regions, with each region fielding All-Star teams.
That format will continue, Beatty said.
All of the sports, with the exception of golf, wrestling and cross country, will feature multiple games to allow for difference in school size classifications.
Football will be highlighted by three celestial clashes -- 1A, 2A/3A and 4A/5A.
Payson will be represented in this summer's 2A/3A football game by Jimbo Armstrong, Justin Kaufmann and Cade Bradley.