In celebration of Arizona's centennial, the Star will feature our picks for the 100 best athletes, moments and teams.
Throughout the summer, we will showcase our list - with the first 90 in no particular order. In August, Greg Hansen will choose his top 10, with a column on each.
Mesa Mountain View High School
On his first day back at Mesa Mountain View High School after his team lost in the state 5A football semifinals in 1995, then-coach Bernie Busken was ambushed. His players wanted to begin practicing immediately for the next season.
"They said, 'That's not good enough,'" Busken said. "Then they proceeded to win 40 in a row."
The Toros didn't lose again until 1998, and kept on winning most of the time after that, earning state titles in 1998, 1999 and 2002.
The same went for basketball, which went 35-0 in 1995 and has won six other state title since then, while the school's track and other success resulted in Mountain View's making a 2005 Sports Illustrated list of the Top 25 high school athletic programs in the country.
While Mountain View has produced many high-major and professional players, such as Baltimore Ravens tight end Todd Heap and Pac-10 basketball players Brendon Lavender (Arizona) and Harper Kamp (California), its best teams haven't always been full of its best players.
That was the case in 1995, when the Toros defeated future UA guard Mike Bibby and Shadow Mountain for the 5A basketball title.
"That team was not as talented as teams we've had, but it had maybe the best team chemistry," Mountain View coach Gary Ernst said. "We had nine or 10 rotate in and out, and we pressured the whole game. We had six good guards, and the kids shot the ball well."
Busken's Toros won 5A football titles in 1996, 1997 and 1999 and were 82-9 from 1995 to 2001, Busken resigned in 2002 amid allegations of verbal abuse.
Busken was replaced by Tom Joseph, a Salpointe Catholic High School graduate, who won a state title in 2002 and led the Toros to two other state championship games. Ernst continues a 27-year stint at Mountain View that has included seven state titles since 1995, including the 2011 championship won over Brophy Prep.
"The kids that we get may not be as talented as Harper and Brendon, but they have a great work ethic, and do what you ask them to do," Ernst said.
He said it
"At Mountain View there are uncles, dads and mothers who played there and did well. So it was understood you were supposed to do well. It's expected through the families." - former Mountain View football coach Bernie Busken
On StarNet: See the archive of Sports Centennial articles at azstarnet.com/sportscentennial