The end of the 2013-14 high school sports year, Part II.
Here are some of the coaches/administrators I have enjoyed writing about and whose accomplishments I have admired in my area of coverage – from Fountain Hills west through Scottsdale and into Phoenix, the southwest, northwest and north Valley and northern Arizona.
Bobby Barnes, Buckeye, football: Did a great job in the southwest Valley before stepping down to help his family with health issues out of state. Buckeye will be getting a quality replacement in former Mesa High and Glendale Independence field boss Kelley Moore.
Lamar-Renee Bryant, Phoenix Xavier Prep, volleyball: She guided the Gators to the Division I state title in her first season as head coach. The team figures to get even better in the future.
John Cano, Phoenix South Mountain, girls basketball: Did one of the better coaching jobs last season, molding his team into a cohesive unit for a strong state-tournament run.
Matt Denny, Phoenix Greenway, baseball: Led the Demons to the Division II state title with a tough, gritty style of play.
David Hopkinson, Buckeye Verrado, girls soccer: Led the Lady Vipers to one of the biggest upsets in state-tournament history, edging Tucson powerhouse Catalina Foothills for the Division II title, 1-0.
Beth Lemke, Phoenix Northwest Christian, girls volleyball: Led her team to the Division IV state title with a hard-fought win over Phoenix Veritas Prep.
Noah Lewkowitz, Phoenix Brophy Prep, soccer: Did an outstanding job in his first season, leading the Broncos to the Division I state title after serving as an assistant. Brophy always plays an exciting, fundamentally sound brand of soccer.
Michele Markham, Glendale Mountain Ridge, softball: The team played consistent all year, combining work ethic with a fun attitude, and in its first-ever state title game appearance pushed defending state champion Mesa Red Mountain to the brink.
Raul Mendoza, Holbrook, boys basketball: Long-time coach and administrator at the northern Arizona school is leaving his posts, but will continue to help out with the cross-country program. One of the state’s unsung heroes and athletics leaders.
Dalton Mills, Bagdad, football: Former Bagdad player led his alma mater to the state Division VI eight-man championship with a 10-0 record.
Jason Mohns, Scottsdale Saguaro, football: Led the Sabercats to the Division III state title and in a classy move, proposed to his fiancé on the field after the game. She said yes, by the way.
Paul Moro, Lakeside Blue Ridge, football: One of the top coaches in Arizona history (318 wins) over the last 30 years decided to try a change of scenery after winning 13 titles. He will now coach at Florence Poston Butte. Good luck, coach Moro and best wishes to new Blue Ridge coach Jake Belshe.
Trina Painter, Flagstaff, girls cross country: Rode another great performance from star Tatiana Gillick and the Eagles claimed the Division II title.
Rick Sharp, Scottsdale Desert Mountain, softball: I was stunned to learn of Sharp’s recent dismissal after a run of more than 20 years. I have always known him to be straightforward, accommodating, and very supportive of his student-athletes. He also ran the annual Desert Mountain Tournament, one of the state’s best, in Scottsdale and put a great deal of time into it. Let’s hope that whoever takes over as coach will not allow it to fade away, and let’s hope that Sharp finds another coaching gig sooner rather than later.
Terry Staggs, River Valley, football: It’s a great story when one of the schools in a non-metropolitan area rises up and has a stellar season, and that’s what Staggs and his team did in 2013.
Bob Weir, Camp Verde, wrestling: Helped his team unseat powerful St. Johns for the Division IV crown.
Donnie Yantis, Jeff Bowen, Dan Friedman and Willie Dudley, Arizona Christian University, football: The NAIA school in north Phoenix couldn’t have picked a better coaching staff for its inaugural season. And you just know that head coach Yantis (Phoenix Paradise Valley), assistant head coach Bowen (Avondale Westview) and assistants Friedman (Anthem Boulder Creek) and Dudley (Tempe Marcos de Niza, Marana, Phoenix Scottsdale Christian) will be scouring the Arizona landscape for their squad. It will be tough to fill their shoes at the prep level, and we wish them well at ACU.