Former Longhorn basketball and football star Miles Huff is developing a new appreciation for teaching and coaching.
It’s occurring as a result of his current stint as a student teacher and junior varsity assistant football coach at Payson High School.
“It’s different for me,” admits Huff who will graduate from Northern Arizona University next month and then begin his search for a job in the education-coaching field.
Looking back on his first-ever high school coaching opportunity, Huff says he learned a great deal from head jayvee coach Brandan Moore, “He knows a lot of football.”
Together, the pair paced the junior varsity team to a 5-3 record that Huff believes is a bit misleading.
“I think we were better than that,” he said. “But most importantly the players never gave up.
“We were behind in some games and always fought back.”
While the junior varsity was compiled mostly of sophomores, some talented freshmen were moved up to gain more experience and a sprinkling of juniors who weren’t seeing much varsity playing time moved down to improve their skills.
Huff recalls R.J. Cox-Robinson, Miguel Mendoza, Curtis Hollowell and Dean Harpe were the most steady contributors to the jayvee effort.
Mendoza played both ways at quarterback and safety, Hollowell held down a starting linebacker position, Harpe was a Z-back and corner/safety and Cox-Robinson played about every position imaginable.
A sure sign Huff is rounding into a good coach surfaced when he took the opportunity to single out a pair of linemen, who normally go unheralded, for their outstanding play.
Huff, who played wide receiver and defensive back for former PHS coach Jerry Rhoades, cited Dakota Harold “For keeping the ‘O’ line together” and Warner Lann for exceptional performances at nose guard.
With the football season at an end, Huff isn’t ready to hang up his whistle.
He’s accepted an offer to coach girls junior varsity basketball and admits he’s excited partly because basketball has long been his favorite sport but also, “I’ve been told jayvee girls actually listen to their coach.”
During Huff’s sports career at Payson High, from 2003 to 2007, he was an All-East Region basketball player invited at the conclusion of his senior year to play in the Arizona Basketball Coaches Association North vs. South All-Star game.
In football, he was an All-East Region first team pick at the conclusion of his senior year.
As a cornerback, he did not give up a touchdown pass the entire season.