It’s a few weeks before the smell of pigskin permeates the fall air, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some headline-grabbing developments going on in prep football.
At Mingus High School, a team the Longhorns will play this year, longtime coach Bob Young left to coach at Prescott High School. Young was in the Mile High City for a month, then reversed his decision and returned to coach Mingus.
According to sources, Young was allowed to leave Prescott and return to Mingus because he never officially resigned to the Mingus school board and was never under contract at Prescott High.
After agreeing to take over the Badger program at the end of the school year, Young was in Prescott for the month of June before opting to head back to Mingus.
Reportedly, Young’s new contract a MUHS contains an $8,000 increase in pay.
It’s no wonder Mingus welcomed Young back with open arms once he had second guesses about leaving — he is a legend in the town and the school for his coaching ability.
Former Payson High football coach Jerry Rhoades was once on Young’s staff and always talked glowingly about the head coach.
With Young’s departure, Prescott High athletic director Bill White will be scrambling to find a replacement coach at a time when most good candidates have already signed contracts.
At Safford High School, a once-proud program that has struggled over the last five seasons, school brass hired a 24-year-old head football coach with no head coaching experience.
Mike Alba, who graduated from Morenci High in 2005 and the University of Arizona in December 2010, has been named the new head coach, replacing Bracken Walker.
Alba played junior college football at Arizona Western and was an assistant coach at Tucson Flowing Wells.
Alba will be called upon to return the Bulldogs to the glory days the football team once enjoyed.
The Dogs are 30-23 in the past five seasons and are 0-3 in state tournament games.
Alba has his gridiron work cut out for him — mostly because the Dogs play a pair of former 3A East teams, Snowflake and defending state champion Show Low, that are expected to be among the best in the state this season.
Also the Florence Gophers and Coolidge Bears are projected to be top teams.
A man who spent three seasons at Northland Pioneer College, in Holbrook and Show Low, has been named head basketball coach at the University of New Orleans.
Mark Slessinger, 37, began as an assistant coach at Northland Pioneer and took over for head coach Richard Zalinski in 1998 after Zalinski suffered a stroke.
Slessinger left NPC in 2000 and has spent the last 11 season as an assistant and recruiting coordinator at Northwestern State.
At New Orleans, Slessinger replaces Joe Pasternack, who resigned to become an assistant at Arizona.