Payson High School could have a new football coach in place this week. PHS athletic director Jason Lobik said the search has been narrowed to two candidates: Jason Belshe and Troy Head.
“Late last week the district posted two openings for social studies teachers and that opened up the pool of possible candidates,” Lobik said.
Before that, the search committee, which represents a cross section of the school district and community, had spoken to two other candidates who did not need teaching positions: Jesse Parker, who has won more football games than any other coach in Arizona prep history, and Andrew Moore, a retired professional football player.
Lobik said Belshe played high school football for both St. Johns and Round Valley, so he is familiar with the region. He also played college ball in Utah and has worked as an assistant football coach at several Valley schools.
Head is a native of Mayer and served as its head football coach and at schools in the Valley.
“We’re looking for a good fit for Payson and looking heavily at the teaching side,” Lobik said.
The delay in the decision on a head football coach could have some impact on the upcoming season, but the choice should be made in time for a summer camp former coach Josh Anderson organized before he left the district. The camp will be held starting July 20. Players can already make use of the weight room in the mornings, Lobik said.
The basketball program is in a similar situation. One head coach candidate, Justin Snell of Utah, was interviewed today. A second candidate, Jared Swanson of Washington state, will be interviewed Saturday, Lobik said.
The summer program for basketball is continuing with the oversight of the sport’s assistant coaches and athletic trainer, Lobik said.
“We’re in a unique circumstance, but we feel things will be fine,” Lobik said.