Newly appointed Lady Longhorn soccer coach Amy Wilcox has long been in the forefront of the Rim Country sports scene and later active at Paradise Valley Community College and Eastern New Mexico University.
The daughter of Rim Country Middle School physical education teacher and former PHS boys basketball coach Randy Wilcox, Amy’s family moved to the Rim Country when she was 3 years of age.
Being the daughter of a P.E. teacher and coach, she was naturally encouraged to compete in sports.
As she grew older, athletics became a way of life as she competed in soccer, basketball and track and field. In soccer at PHS, she was a four-year letter winner and the team’s leading scorer in her final three years.
Let’s take a quick peek at some of her accomplishments over the years.
• 1999 — She wins the 12-13-years championship of the Arizona Cardinals NFL Punt Pass & Kick competition in Payson.
• 2001 — Wilcox wins the Arizona State Punt, Pass & Kick 14-15 years Championship during halftime of an Arizona Cardinals game in Sun Devil Stadium.
A year prior, she reached the state championship game in Tempe finishing fourth in her age group.
• 2002 — She finishes fourth in the state high school track and field meet in the pole vault with a mark of 8 feet.
• 2003 — Lady Longhorn basketball coach Krystal Garvin gives Wilcox the “Endurance Award” for her efforts during the basketball season. A chronic sufferer of asthma, Wilcox sat out the first part of the season before returning to the team midway through the campaign.
• 2003 — She and teammate Lori Wing are named to the Higley High School all-tournament soccer first team.
• 2004 — Class 4A Grand Canyon all-region first team honors are awarded to Wilcox and teammate Brenna Zumbro.
• 2005 — As a freshman member of the Paradise Valley Community College Lady Pumas soccer team, Wilcox is cited as the team’s most improved player and for chalking up “the most impressive goal of the season.”
• 2006 — Wilcox accepts a scholarship from Eastern New Mexico University, Roswell after starring two years at Paradise Valley.
• 2007 — Wilcox is named to the Dean’s Honor Roll at ENMU for maintaining a 3.25 grade average.
• 2007 — Wilcox, a senior, wraps up her collegiate soccer career ranked 14th in points scored during a career and seventh in assists.
Following her graduation from ENMU, Wilcox returned to Payson where she now works as an aide in Peggy Owens’ Rim Country Middle School classroom. Last spring she worked as an assistant coach on the PHS track team and was recognized by the athletes as “Coach Will.”
Just weeks ago, Wilcox was named Lady Longhorn head soccer coach replacing Joe Schmidt who resigned last spring.
One of Wilcox’s first duties was to assemble her staff so she turned to her father who she brought on board as an assistant. That hire created the most uncommon of situations — not only is he her father, he also coached her in soccer during her final two years at PHS.
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Now the pair’s roles have been reversed — Amy is the one barking out orders on the playing field and Dad is on the receiving end of those commands.
“Finally it’s coming, I get to tell him what to do,” said Amy.
For Randy, following his daughter’s directions “is going to be easy to do in front of the kids but when we get home ...”
Oops, guess that means that
while he might be willing to take a back seat as an assistant coach, he’s retaining his crown as king of the Wilcox household.
Amy is now living at home as she struggles for financial stability and to jump-start her teaching and coaching career.
In Amy’s duties as a teaching aide and varsity head coach, she often finds herself harking back to earlier days.
“I look around and I think to myself ‘I used to be here,’” she said. “It’s a little strange, but it’s exciting to be back in my hometown as a teacher and coach.”
In planning for this season’s play, Wilcox says she is going to take an eclectic approach using some of the offense, defense, strategy and philosophy that she learned under her coaches at PHS, PVCC and ENMU.
“We’ll use a little bit of everything,” she said. “If it worked for me, we’ll try it.”
Which includes installing a 4-4-2 scheme for next season’s play. Wilcox explains the alignment as one with four defensemen, two wings, two midfielders, two forwards and the goalie.
The players had a chance to try it out last week in a scrimmage game against an alumni team. The skirmish went into two overtimes before that varsity won 2-1 in a shoot-out.
“Amy played for the alumni, and I coached the varsity,” said Randy.
“But that’s the last time — she’s the head coach from now on.”
Girls soccer tips off Aug. 28 in a controlled scrimmage against Round Valley High School in Eagar Springerville. The season begins in earnest Aug. 31 in Lakeside against Blue Ridge.