Former head coaches serving as assistants is one of the greatest assets of any high school athletic program. Because head coaches have waded through the trials and tribulations of leading an entire program including freshmen through seniors most bring a wealth of knowledge to the playing field.
No one knows the sports facts of life better than former Payson High School football coach Jim Beall. So, when Beall was announced last month as the first football coach at soon-to-be-completed Higley High, the first thing he did was begin a search for a topnotch coaching staff.
Scouring the Valley, he's come up with two former head coaches with solid reputations on the state prep sports scene. Set to assist Beall are Mike Clark and Doc Holaday.
Clark, let go as Mesa Dobson's head coach last fall, is one of the most respected men in the Arizona Coaches Association.
Apparently, Dobson school administrators weren't keen on his recent won-loss record but ask most any coach about him and the reply will probably be nothing but superlatives
Holaday, also highly thought of around the state, served a stint as head coach at Gilbert High School. For the past two seasons, he's worked as an assistant under Clark.
Because Beall is busy fulfilling his teaching contract in the Payson School District, he's turned over many of the obligations of the new program, including helping design the school's weight training facilities, to Holaday.
Clark is also helping build the foundation of the Higly football program.
Ironically, Beall served as the defensive coordinator under Clark when Dobson opened its doors 20 years ago.
After being let go, Clark who will continue to teach at the Dobsonwas considering taking his coaching talents to Mesa High where he has friends on the staff. When Beall offered him a coaching position, he changed his mind.
With the hiring of Clark and Holaday, there is now only a handful of other football coaching positions at Higley to be filled. Beall is considering former Arizona State University football stars Nathan LaDuke and Paul Reynolds for those jobs.
Reynolds starred as quarterback for Snowflake when Beall led the Lobos to two state championships in the early 1990s. After graduating from Snowflake, Reynolds signed a professional baseball contract. He gave up the sport several years later and returned to ASU, where he resumed his football career as a linebacker.
He's now considered one of the fresh new authorities in proper techniques of weight training.
Bringing LaDuke and Reynolds onboard the Higley ship would be another huge boost for the football program. The school, which has adopted "Knights" as its nickname, will open in the fall.
In addition to the two state championships Beall won at Snowflake, he led the Longhorns to the 1998 class 3A title.
Time is running out
Mogollon Sporting Association member Jack Koon is busy hawking tickets to the organization's benefit banquet May 12 at the Mazatzal Casino. Tickets for the event are $75 each.
Tickets purchased before April 1 have been entered in a special early bird drawing that will be held at the banquet.
The festive event kicks off at 5 p.m. with a no-host cocktail hour. At 6 p.m. the dinner prime rib or stuffed chicken breast gets under way. At 7 p.m., the evening gets rolling with lively auction and raffles.
The proceeds from the annual benefit go to help fund local environmental projects and to youth programs.
Many of the boys and girls sports teams have reaped the benefits of the MSA's hard work.
Band, chorus and spirit groups have also received funds as have wildlife enhancement projects and the Arizona Game and Fish Department. To purchase tickets, call Koon at 474-1662.