High school basketball

Kevin Pollins has always considered Tucson High's basketball program a sleeping giant.

Now he'll have his chance to prove it.

Pollins, 55, was hired by the Badgers late last week to take over the boys program. He replaces Gary Lewis, who resigned in March.

"If it's the basketball gods' will, I hope I can retire from there because I really think it's a great opportunity," Pollins said. "We want to be the team that no one wants to play."

The hiring filled one of the final vacancies among boys basketball teams in Southern Arizona in what has been a wild off-season. Pueblo and Ironwood Ridge hired new coaches, Gary Crane and Mark Felix, respectively.

Catalina Foothills is the only remaining team without a coach, but that should change today. Former Mountain View High School and Idaho State standout Doug D'Amore is expected to be announced as the Falcons' new coach.

Pollins, meanwhile, will be formally introduced in a meet-and-greet at 2 p.m. Friday in Tucson High's main gym.

Pollins, a New York City native who played collegiately at Springfield College in Massachusetts, said he's always wanted an opportunity to coach at Tucson High because it reminds him of his own high school, DeWitt Clinton, and because of the possibilities.

"The potential is unlimited," Pollins said. "If you look at the kids, especially now with club ball, and just in terms of the size of the school and the curriculum, I think it's a sleeping giant."

Pollins has lived in Arizona for 23 years. He served as an assistant at both Mesa Desert Ridge and Chandler Basha before moving to Tucson in 2012.

Desert Ridge went 4-23 and lost its final 11 games in 2006, a year before head coach Robb Floco and Pollins took over. Under the two coaches, the Jaguars went 17-11 the next season and went to the second round of the 5A-II state tournament.

"I'm really used to rebuilding programs, and I really think this is an excellent opportunity here in Tucson," said Pollins, who also coaches the Tucson Roadrunners club team.

While Pollins believes he can make Tucson the local powerhouse, he will face tough competition with Foothills in his first season.

Foothills athletic director Jody Brase said the school will announce a new coach this morning, but did not confirm who it would be. The job opened up last month when Felix resigned to take over at Ironwood Ridge. He replaced Brian Peabody, who left the Nighthawks for a second stint at Pima College.

Contact reporter Daniel Gaona at dgaona@azstarnet.com or 807-7761. On Twitter @DanielGaona13