Possible Suns Coach Has Ties To Holbrook

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As a football and basketball coach at Show Low and Payson High Schools in the 1980s, many of our games in both sports were against the Holbrook Roadrunners.

Among my memories of those years is of a talented, competitive kid on Roadrunner teams who was always tough to deal with.

In short, he made life miserable for opposing coaches.

Mike Budenholzer was the son of highly regarded Holbrook High School Athletic Director Vince Budenholzer, who spent 25 years coaching before retiring in 1997.

I once predicted Mike could do great things with his talent and attitude but I could never have imagined he might someday coach the Phoenix Suns.

But lo and behold, Mike is being interviewed this week to replace Mike D'Antoni as the Phoenix head coach.

After graduating from Holbrook High School in 1988, Budenholzer went on to play for Pomona College and then spent a stint playing professionally oversees.

In the summer of 1996, he was named an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs and last season was tapped the team's No. 1 assistant.

Budenholzer might be getting a look-see from the Suns because San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich has tutored him.

"Pop" is one of the most respected coaches in the pro game having won four world championships in 11 years.

I have no idea if Budenholzer will become the Suns next coach. But just being considered is a huge accomplishment for a man who once played small-school basketball in a remote northern Arizona town known more for curio stores and as a whistle stop on historic Route 66 than for producing top-notch athletes and coaches.

Triathlon on deck

The Third Annual Payson Sprint Triathlon, sponsored by the town parks and recreation department, will be held June 14.

The adult (15 years and over) events consist of a 500-yard swim followed up by the 15-mile bike ride and the 5K run.

The youth (7-14 years) events will include a 200-yard swim, 3-mile bike ride and a 1 1/2-mile run.

Participants in both adult and youth divisions can enter as an individual or a three-person team with each competing in a single event.

The adult registration fee is $45 per individual or $75 for a team. Youth fees are $15 per individual and $30 for a team.

The registration deadline was May 30. Now, a $10 late fee is being charged. Walk-up registrations will not be accepted. Call (928) 474-5242, ext. 7 for more information.

Soccer camp on tap

Payson Parks and Recreation sports coordinator Joe Harris wants to remind everyone that the upcoming British Soccer Camp, which is co-hosted by the P&R department, will be held June 9-13 on the Rumsey Park south multipurpose field.

He is highly recommending the camps.

"They will be a lot of fun and a good learning experience," he said. "We are happy they are coming here."

The camps include First Kicks, Mini-Soccer, two Half-Day Development sessions and a Full-Day Development session.

First Kicks is open to aspiring players 4 to 6 years of age.

During it, campers are introduced to the game basics through fundamental activities, games and fun soccer challenges.

The camps are an hour a day for five days.

Parents are encouraged to join in to help their children.

The Mini-Soccer camp is aimed at children 4 to 6 years of age. In it, fun games, competitions and skill-building activities are used to help develop budding players. The sessions last for 1-1/2 hours for five days.

In the two Payson Half-Day Player Development Camps, emphasis is placed on mastery of core soccer techniques through individual and small group practices and coached games.

British soccer officials say the camps are their most popular. The sessions are three hours a day for five days.

The Full-Day Player Development Camp is aimed at youths 8 to 18 years old. They are more advanced session for serious players. The curriculum is focused on game-related techniques, tactical development and coached match play. The sessions are six hours a day for five days.

The Payson schedule is:

  • First Kicks -- 9 to 10 a.m.
  • Mini Soccer -- 10:30 a.m. to noon.
  • Half Day -- 9 a.m. to noon and another from 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Full Day -- 9 a.m. to noon; 1 to 4 p.m.

The fees are $70 for First Kicks, $85 for Mini-Soccer, $115 for Half Day and $165 for Full Day.

Online registration may be completed at www.challengersports.com or at the P&R office in Green Valley Park. Since the registration deadline was May 30, a $10 late fee is being charged and registrants.

All campers receive a shirt, camp ball, personal evaluation and an end-of-camp gift.

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