Jim Beall came within a whisper of being the first Arizona High School coach to win state championships at three separate schools.
His lost opportunity to make prep history occurred Dec. 2 in Arizona Cardinals University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale where Beall's Higley High School football team lost 28-14 to Cactus Shadows in the Class 4A Division II state championship.
Beall coached Class 3A state championship teams at Snowflake in 1992 and 1993 and at Payson High in 1998. In 1991, he guided Snowflake to the state semifinals.
Beall resigned his PHS coaching position in the spring of 2000 after leading the Horns to three consecutive postseason appearances. He cited the reason for his departure as an increasing classroom workload that restricted the time and energy he could put into the football program.
He was a teacher of special needs students at Rim Country Middle School.
After leaving Payson, Beall accepted a coaching and teaching position at rapidly growing Higley High, which was then a 2A school.
Under his leadership and that of co-coaches Doc Holliday and Mike Clark, Higley's football program has grown by leaps and bounds.
On the way to the championship finale, the Higley squad defeated the Queen Creek Bulldogs, which is coached by Curt LeBlanc -- a former assistant coach of Beall's at PHS.