This edition of Extra Points has been turned over to PHS football coach Josh Anderson who asked to address readers.
I have been offered, and accepted, the head football coaching position at Dakota State University in Madison, S.D. It was a difficult decision to leave such a wonderful place to live, as well as a very talented football program, like Payson. It’s been very bittersweet trying to inform and explain to those closest to me and the football program as to why I made this decision. Ultimately it came down to the fact that I would have an opportunity to deal with just football on a year-round basis, which is what I’m most passionate about.
I have enjoyed the times in the classroom as it has given me a chance to meet many different kids outside the football program. However, there are just too many things that I won’t have to deal with at the university level that need specific attention in a high school setting.
I was in no hurry to be leaving Payson, but this is an opportunity, and a coaching move that just does not come along very often and I could not pass it up. I look at this change as a way to be able to coach Payson, and surrounding White Mountain athletes, at the next level, whereas if I were to take another high school job that just would not be the case.
For example, the truth about the Dobson head coaching position I interviewed for is that they did offer me the job. I was second on the list to Scot Bemis at Notre Dame Prep, however, both of us turned down the job. They have a great administration and a huge upside at Dobson HS, but I was not willing to coach at any other high school in the country right now.
They did offer me $12K more a year and I would have been done teaching at 11:30 and only teaching in the weight room, which is exactly what I wanted to do here at PHS. Again, I was not interested in leaving PHS for another high school. According to MaxPreps we had the No. 4 rated high school football program in the entire state of Arizona and that is something I am very proud of as I was not willing to give up that easy.
This football program is right where it should be in the state, especially in class 3A and the East Region, so the next coach who comes in here would have things set up pretty nice for him to hit the ground running. I know most of the kids, parents and community have expressed their concern about me leaving, but also wish me the best of luck, however, the biggest concern of younger classmen is that of who will take over. I hate to leave when the cupboard is still very full of talent in Payson, but it will also make things easier in attracting a very qualified coach to replace me.
Any coach hopes that they make a difference in the lives of the kids they surround themselves with, even if it’s further down the road than high school. I hope that people understand I was most interested in building champions for life, not just during a season of football.
When I interviewed in Payson I was not shown the locker room, the weight room, or the equipment room. But with the help of the high school administration, this great community, and the hard work of current and past athletes, we’ve been able to make those three rooms something this school can be proud to show the next head football coach. If I do happen to move on from a school, my hope is that I leave it a better place than when I got there.
There are also many misconceptions in this community about our current high school administration, good, bad or indifferent, that I would like to clear up.
I can tell you honestly that I have the utmost respect for our Principal Roy Sandoval, Assistant Principal Tim Fruth and Athletic Director Jason Lobik. They have gone above and beyond with their support for me as a teacher and as a coach to help make life better for the young men and women of Payson High School. Without their constant support and commitment a lot of the good deeds around PHS would have gone undone.
There are so many people to thank that I don’t want to leave anybody out. I really want to thank the high school administration for trusting and believing in me, as well as allowing me to coach the program and the team my way without any interference. My coaches that I’ve had the pleasure of working with, the hardest working athletes in the state, and of course my wife for standing by me all the way.
I want to thank the hospital and all the support they constantly give to our student-athletes at PHS. Chris Wolf, Dr. Olivia Morris, Ryan Howard and Scott Nossek have taken such great care of my athletes that I cannot say thank you enough. The entire Tonto Apache Tribe and their constant support is matched by no other in the state of Arizona!
I absolutely need to thank Tim Doherty and all the members, past and present, of the FAN Club. I could not ask for a better booster club as they showed great support without trying to run the show from the outside.
There are many people in this community who have helped out in so many ways that I could just not fit all the names and businesses in one article, so thank you very much to all of you! In a time of economic turmoil, our football program was able to raise over $11K in Credit for Kids money throughout the 2008 year. That is a community everybody should be proud of, as I know I am.
I have cherished so many things during my time in Payson that it truly is bittersweet for me to leave as well.
The greatest memory I will take with me is actually not that of the state championship, which was absolutely amazing in itself. It was my first year in Payson when I made some extremely tough decisions that affected not only the football program, but also the entire Payson community.
The way that this community rallied around me, the parents, the staff and especially the athletes in order for us to keep things steady and moving in the right direction will forever be what I was most proud of.
I told the parents in a meeting following the suspensions that we needed to stick together in order to make any good come out of that situation, and although it was a tough thing to do, especially tough for others, we did it and made it pay off in the long run. That is the lesson we needed to teach those young men!
I tell our guys all the time winning is not a goal, it’s an outcome. The state championship was the result of so many small struggles and huge accomplishments in the last three seasons that the outcome of that final game took care of itself! Stick by your morals and values, be accountable for your actions, don’t let the little things in life hold you down and you will be successful in the long run … in the game of life.
Sincerely and respectfully: