After just two seasons at the helm of the Payson High School baseball program, Scott Novack is stepping down as head coach.
Novack did not give any specific reasons for resigning, saying instead, “You could say that I am disappointed in our record (16-10) and I am hoping somebody else can come in and take the program to the next level.”
Novack’s resignation as head baseball coach does not affect his teaching position at Rim Country Middle School.
“I got a couple of possible coaching offers after I resigned, but I’d like to stay on in Payson and teach because I like living here and my kids in class are a lot of fun.”
During the 2012 season, Novack led the Horns to the championship of the inaugural Fountain Hills Invitational tournament and into the semifinals of the Estrella Foothills tournament.
The team opened the season 8-1 and was ranked as high as No. 2 but tailed off as the season wore on, coming up less than a power point shy of receiving a state tournament berth.
In 2011, the Novack-led Longhorns finished second in the East Region title chase to eventual state champion Blue Ridge.
The team also qualified as a No. 9 seed to the state tournament but was eliminated in the first round.
Novack’s connections in state sports circles earned the Longhorns an invitation to play in the prestigious 2011 Mesa Citrus Invitational against some of the tops teams in the nation.
On that 2011 team, which graduated nine seniors, Jake Sleeper and Westin Gibson were chosen to play in the Arizona Baseball Coaches Association North vs. South All-Star game and the Arizona Academic All Star clash.
Both Sleeper and Gibson also won All-East first team honors under Novack.
Among Novack’s greatest accomplishments was volunteering time and labor to revamp the Payson High School baseball field in the summer of 2010.
He, Slade Gibson, Scott Geske, Ty Goodman and others helped turn what was once considered to be the worst field in the 3A conference to one of the best.
“The old field was horrible,” said Novack. “We worked our tails off on the field.”
Novack also thanked district field maintenance man Jeff Stancil, saying, “He has been a huge supporter and worked like heck to make sure the team had the best playing surface around.”
Assistant coach Waylon Pettet, a former Longhorn three-sport star, also drew Novack’s praise as “a great co-coach,” as did Teddy Pettet for his support.
Former PHS baseball coach Bruce Haught, Novack said, “was a great confidant” and Scott Nossek “sacrificed his time away from his business and family to be pitching coach.”
It’s no secret that Novack was under fire from some disgruntled parents, which seems to be the norm at Payson High, but he says he’s content, “I have the respect of other coaches and umpires in the state because I have a reputation for doing things the right way.”
Novack also says during his tenure he instilled discipline and respect in the players and there have been no incidents of unsportsmanlike like behavior. He also says the number of players on school detention has declined in the past two seasons.