Five-time Pro Bowl selection and former Super Bowl champion Andre Rison has been named Rincon/University’s next football coach, TUSD athletic director Herman House told the Star today.
Rison, who spent 12 seasons in the NFL, met with the Rangers team Monday alongside Rincon assistant principal Steve Cota-Robles.
Rison must still undergo a background check, get fingerprinted and earn all his necessary certifications before the hire becomes official. That process could take up to eight weeks, House said.
“It’s a great opportunity for us and a great opportunity for him,” Cota-Robles said. “We needed to find someone to get us going in the right direction; we have a lot of potential here. We’re hoping the process continues forward.”
Cota-Robles said he was surprised to see Rison’s name among the applicants for the coaching vacancy. He wondered at first if it was actually the same person that amassed 10,205 receiving yards, caught 84 touchdown passes and won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers in 1996. Rison also played for the Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders.
Rison previously coached at Flint (Mich.) Northwestern High School. His son, Hunter, lives in Chandler and played on Basha High School’s varsity team as a freshman in 2013.
Rison’s hiring should bring a buzz to a program that has struggled recently. Rincon has had just one winning season in the last eight years and hasn’t made the state playoffs since 2006. Still, Cota-Robles said, there were more football players in the weight room today than the day before.
“Once we got him on campus, we knew he was pretty serious; it certainly showed his commitment,” Cota-Robles said. “The kids are real excited. He’s made it clear to them that he wants to win, but he wants to do things the right way.”
Rison’s hire, once official, will mean TUSD has filled all five of its football coaching vacancies this offseason.
Virgil Henderson, who coached Rincon last season, was recently named Cholla’s coach. Former Cholla coach Laurence Ruhf has been named Palo Verde’s coach.
Former Arizona Wildcats and NFL defensive back Brandon Sanders took over at Pueblo earlier this year, and Cody House, who spent last season as a freshman coach at Tucson High School, will be Santa Rita’s coach.
“We really want to turn around our athletic programs district-wide, especially the football programs,” Herman House said. “We’re going to support these guys in any way they need.”