Last year, Mayor Kenny Evans and the town backed the effort to bring the Arizona State University Sun Devils back to Camp Tontozona for the team’s annual preseason training camp.
The reasoning behind the support is that ASU’s return would bolster the local economy by attracting fans and alumni to the Rim Country.
There is, however, a way for the town to generate an even greater economic boost of having ASU training camp at Tontozona.
It has its roots in the early 1970s when then-ASU coach Frank Kush wrapped up the Devils’ stay at Tontozona with a scrimmage at Payson High School.
The day of the scrimmage, thousands of ASU fans flocked to Payson to watch — up close and personal — the Sun Devil scrimmage.
Local service clubs operated concession stands selling their fair-type food to the legions of visitors.
High school football teams from around the state visited as did big city media outlets and professional football scouts.
In short, the town was a beehive of activity drawing visitors from Arizona and surrounding states.
Moving the camp-ending scrimmages to PHS, as they were held decades ago, would be a huge boost for the town’s economy and exposure.
I don’t know what the NCAA rules are concerning a collegiate football team practicing at a high school, but holding the scrimmage at PHS — if both ASU and the town can agree — would be a tremendous shot in the arm for our town.
Girls hoop camp
Former Lady Longhorn basketball coach Grant Coley is set to host a youth girls hoop camp for aspiring players entering fifth through ninth grades.
It will be held from 9 a.m. to noon June 25 to 27 in the old gym at Payson High School.
The fee for all three days is $25 or $10 for one day.
Those who attend all three sessions will receive camp T-shirts. Prizes will also be awarded and the camp will wrap up with a pizza party.
Former Payson High athletic director Gary Fishel and high school players, from PHS and Sandra Day O’Connor will assist as camp coaches, Coley said.
To participate, fledgling players should simply show up in old Payson High School gym on the first day of camp and be “dressed out” and ready to practice.
Coley says “the whole gamut” of skills will be taught, including shooting mechanics, rebounding, dribbling, passing and defense. In teaching those individual and team skills, Coley and fellow coaches will use a series of time-tested drills that are simple, fun and effective.
Coley says he enjoys coaching at the camp because “he wants to keep his hand” in the sport, but the real reason is to help prepare the girls for play whether it be in parks and recreation leagues, at Rim Country Middle School or Payson High School.
Call (928) 978-4116 for more information.