Tyler D’Amore certainly knows his way around the Tucson sports scene.
He starred as Ironwood Ridge’s quarterback in 2010, passing for 2,842 yards and 32 touchdowns, leading the Nighthawks to a 9-4 record and the state semifinals.
Then, he was a preferred walk-on at the UA in Rich Rodriguez’s first spring.
After spending a year at Division II’s Nebraska-Kearney, he came back to the Old Pueblo and joined Pat Nugent’s Pima football squad, and passed for 842 yards and ran for 228 and five touchdowns in 2013.
Now, finally, D’Amore is a starting guard for the Aztecs basketball team, where he’s scoring 4.6 points a game.
“It came as a big surprise to me, it was kind of out of the blue,” D’Amore said, “but I decided not to commit to football yet.
“I’m still gonna play at the next level but I decided not to commit in the spring, give myself some time for more recruitment in football and in the meantime I thought it was a great way for me to stay in shape.”
So, while he waits to figure out the next stop in his football career, he’s returned to playing basketball.
The decision was certainly made easier by his new, or old, coach — Brian Peabody, the former Ironwood Ridge head coach.
D’Amore scored 9.2 points per game for Peabody in 2011.
“There were some things happening on the team,” D’Amore said, “and he thought I could be a presence on the team, so he gave me a call and said, ‘Hey what do you think about playing?’ So I thought about it for a few days then got out there and played.”
The 9-11 Aztecs will take on Central Arizona College on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Pima’s West Campus.
The Star spoke with D’Amore on Friday:
Was the decision to join the team made easier by the fact that your old coach (Peabody) is Pima’s coach?
A: “Yeah, he knew how I played. He knows I come from a basketball family. My brothers both played college basketball, my dad’s been a coach for 30-40 years. He knew I understand the game and thought I could be an asset to the team and everything’s worked out so far.”
Were you in basketball shape when he asked you?
A: “Not really, football and basketball shape are completely different. I cut from about 205-210 (pounds) to 195 in the first week, just trying to get into my role. I’m trying to keep my weight up around 200 pounds but, you know, you gotta know your body a little bit more with all the running, all the cutting. It incorporates a lot of movement and sometimes you have to lose a little weight, but it helps you stay in shape and I think it’s the best training any football player can do is get out there and work on all these things, work on speed, and you’re having fun competing while you’re doing it.”
Now that Jim Monaco is the new head football coach, what will he bring to the table?
A: “Coach Monaco is gonna bring a lot. He has great recruiting. I’m not sure who’s on his staff yet but I know he’ll put together a great staff, I know he’ll get out there and recruit. I talked to him a few times stopping in the office, talking to the coaches seeing them around, but I think they’re bringing in the right guy. He’s an intense guy, really passionate about football and I know he’s really excited about the job and you can’t ask for more, someone that wants the job and is excited for a program that has so much potential.”
Do you have any offers for football for your next school?
A: “Yeah I’ve had some D-II offers right now from some places on the East Coast, some places in the Midwest, but I’m looking for the right fit. I don’t wanna go somewhere like Nebraska-Kearney again, nothing against that school. It’s a great school, but I’m a West Coast kid. If I find the right fit I’m gonna go, if not I’ll figure it out. I would love to maybe walk-on at Arizona. I know their QB situation is solid right now but I’m not gonna rush it.”
- The women’s basketball team went 1-1 last week, beating Glendale CC and losing to Eastern Arizona.
- The ba
- seball team will host its annual Aztec Baseball Camp and Alumni Game on Saturday. It will include a clinic for kids aged 6-13, and some of the instructors include former majo
- r leaguers
- George Arias,
- D.J. Carrasco
- , pro coaches
- Tom Spencer
- Clark Crist
- , and White Sox pitcher
- Donald Veal
- . The clinic will be from noon to 2 p.m.; the game will start at 2:30.
- Pima baseball coach
- added 12 players to his roster on the first day of the spring signing period last week. They are:
- Ryan Ramsower
- Marcus Catalano
- (Salpointe Catholic),
- Jacob Northrup
- Vinnie Tarantola
- Justin Hammergren
- Luis Gonzalez
- (Catalina Foothills),
- Daniel Tolano
- Ivan Estrella
- Martin Dicochea
- (Tucson High)
- Ryan Neter
- (Ironwood Ridge),
- Johnny Rodriguez
- (Sunnyside) and
- Al Cruz