Pending approval by the Payson Unified School District Governing Board, PHS Athletic Director Dave Bradley has found a coach to head the Lady Longhorn soccer program.
Former PHS boys basketball coach Randy Wilcox, a physical education teacher at Rim Country Middle School, has agreed to take over the team from Linda Gibson who stepped down last month.
All that remains is for the governing board to okay Wilcox's hiring at its next regularly scheduled meeting.
Following Gibson's resignation, Bradley said finding a replacement for the highly successful coach would be a difficult chore.
Gibson also expressed concerns about her successor saying not many coaches want to assume the responsibilities of a varsity girl's soccer program.
Just when it looked like Bradley might not find a capable replacement, Wilcox stepped up saying he was looking forward to the challenge of carrying on the rich tradition the former coach brought to the team.
"I'd like to maintain the integrity of the program put in place by Coach Gibson," Wilcox said.
Although he's new to high school level soccer, Wilcox has long coached in the town of Payson youth soccer program.
Under his tutelage, Lady Horn fans won't see many changes in the team's offensive and defensive schemes from what was run under Gibson.
Wilcox expects to field a 4-4-2 offense and an aggressive defense designed to keep opponents on their heels.
Among his goals is to field well-conditioned athletes who can play late into the game without faltering.
Because he is new to the program, Wilcox says he doesn't yet know which opponents have the talent to battle the Lady Horns for postseason honors but expects Camp Verde to be a contender.
On roster, Wilcox will inherit a solid nucleus of returning starters who have the invaluable experience of having played in the pressures of last year's state tournament.
Among the veterans expected to show up for team tryouts when preseason drills begin Aug. 12 are Trista Carlton, Jenny Cohen, Megan Branstetter, Laura Crabtree and Amy Wilcox, the coach's daughter.
The returning letter winners, coach Wilcox said, "will be the key to our success."
Varsity newcomers he can look to for help include Lori Wing, Hailee Byler, Jessica Coleman and Krista LaHaye.
Wilcox's extensive coaching resume includes a two-year stint as the boy's varsity basketball coach and six years on the junior varsity level. For one season, he served as a varsity assistant to former coach Jim Quinlan.
At RCMS, he has coached the track and field team for the past 12 years and last season coached the Maverick eighth-grade boys basketball team.
Prior to coming to Payson, Wilcox coached high school basketball in New Mexico.
A native of Bagdad, Wilcox has a BS degree from Grand Canyon University and a MA from Western New Mexico University in Silver City.