High school basketball

Doug D'Amore proved throughout a standout basketball career that he can score.

This week, he pulled off one heck of a rebound.

The 32-year-old Tucson native and Mountain View High School graduate was a finalist to take over the Ironwood Ridge boys basketball program last month but lost out when the Nighthawks chose Catalina Foothills' Mark Felix.

On Wednesday, Foothills athletic director Jody Brase introduced D'Amore as Felix's permanent replacement.

"I feel very privileged and humbled to have the position," said D'Amore, who also played at Idaho State and in Europe. "We both had a common vision for the program, and I think that's why she brought me in, and I'm excited to take it to the next level."

D'Amore played for four teams in three European countries for more than three years. That's also where he got his start in coaching.

The Star caught up with the new coach Wednesday. He inherits one of the top teams in the state that could make a run for its first state title. Here's what he said:

What are you most excited about in taking over the Foothills basketball team?

A: "There isn't anything I'm not excited about. I think what I'm most excited about is being around the kids on a daily basis and being able to work with them and watch them grow from young freshmen into mature seniors who understand the game of basketball and develop into young men who are good people, good students and hopefully solid players."

What were the visions that you and Brase shared about the future of the Foothills basketball team?

A: "We had a common vision of player development and a one-goal success as in taking the team to the state championship. Teaching the kids that old-school mentality of hard work and instilling a sense of discipline, integrity and accountability within the kids. Also, the emphasis of academics the school has."

How will your experience playing in Europe help you with your first high school job?

A: "It's very common for a European player to negotiate into their contract to, as a coach, develop younger teams and younger programs in Europe. I've always been coaching and developing programs while I was in Europe, and when I came back here, it was more of a timing issue."

What do you think about the program you're inheriting?

A: "I know I'm lucky, I know with it comes a certain amount of pressure, which I'm ready for. I really believe the program has had a history of success, but it hasn't been able to get over that hurdle or climb that mountain, and I really think, if the players can buy into the system and understand the level of commitment that is going to be needed and asked of them, they'll be able to step up to the challenge."

Native takes over Foothills program with eye on title

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