Before Angela Chomokos became the principal at Catalina Foothills High School this year, she hired ex-NFL and Ohio State Rose Bowl quarterback Joe Germaine to be the head coach at Queen Creek High School.
Queen Creek won the state championship this season, Germaine's third at Chomokos' old school. It was that type of administrative support (and success) that led Jeff Scurran to believe he had the backing to turn Catalina Foothills into a winner.
On Friday, Chomokos hired Scurran to coach the Falcons, a school that has won a single playoff game in 19 years.
This will be Act V for Scurran, a 60-something master program builder whose monumental success at Sabino, Santa Rita, Pima College and in the Italian pro league has been remarkable.
He didn't get the job by default or just because he is the most successful Tucson football coach of the last two decades.
Chomokos, athletic director Jody Brase and former UA and NFL standout Glenn Parker interviewed 2005 Palo Verde state championship coach Todd Mayfield and Pima College's Pat Nugent, who was 41-9 in his final four seasons at CDO, 2005-08.
The Falcons have been pacesetters forever in swimming, tennis and soccer, and now Scurran will try to put football on the school's marquee for the first time.
"My whole career has been taking over teams that didn't win," he said. "This will be the third time I took over a team coming off an 0-10 season."
In the early 1980s in The Dalles, Ore., Scurran took an 0-10 Wahtonka High team to the state semifinals. In 2007, he took an 0-10 Santa Rita team to consecutive years of 11-2, 12-2 and 11-3, including two state title appearances. Santa Rita has since gone 7-23.
Scurran started the Pima College football program in 2001 and in its first game stunned defending NJCAA champion Scottsdale Community College and went to (and won) a bowl game before the administration compromised the program two years later. At Sabino, he took a team that had gone 16-25 the previous four seasons to state championships in 1990, 1992 and 1998. His Tucson teams have played in seven state title games.
He said he was encouraged to pursue the CFHS position because Chomokos has a background of providing a positive environment for football.
"It's hard, but it's fun," said Scurran. "There's no guarantee, but I'm in good shape, I'm in good health. I don't really care why Foothills hasn't won big. That has nothing to do with me. I am eager to help the kids look forward to something new and see where it goes."
Conquistadores turn 50
2012 contributions raise group's total over $26M
To celebrate their 50th anniversary, the Tucson Conquistadores announced they will contribute $1,281,708 to Southern Arizona charities this year. The money was raised during the 2012 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Not only that, the Conquistadores produced a 143-page book, a collector's item extraordinaire, detailing their history as a charitable organization, most of it built around their work with the PGA Tour. The book lists more than 300 present and former Conquistadores and has more than 500 photographs of the organization's history.
A gala event was held last week at Casino del Sol resort hotel when it was announced that the Conquistadores have now raised in excess of $26 million for Southern Arizona charities.
How's this for going back in time: In the winter of 1962-63, the first-year organization held a Tucson Sports Award dinner at the old Pioneer Hotel downtown. Those who attended included Gene Autry, Willie Mays, Lefty Gomez and a young golf star named Jack Nicklaus.
Luppino OK with Carey breaking his UA records
During his record-setting 1,929-yard rushing season, Ka'Deem Carey eclipsed numerous school records for yards and touchdowns set by Trung Canidate and Art Luppino. No hard feelings, right? "Having a record broken is not pleasant," Luppino told me last week. "Having a record broken by a mediocre running back was painful. But Ka'Deem Carey is the best running back I have seen at Arizona. When records fall to him, all the former Wildcats hold their heads higher. I have no problem." … Three players still have a chance to surpass Carey's 1,929 in the bowl season. Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch is at 1,771; Wisconsin's Montee Ball is at 1,730; UCLA's Jonathan Franklin is at 1,700. Carey last week tweeted that he is about to become a father. He wrote: "After God blessed me with a great season and a great semester of school (I) find out he blessed me with an even better gift. I'm going to be a daddy." … Former Mountain View High School and Wake Forest quarterback James MacPherson, who coached in the United Football League for three seasons, will hold a Next Level Camp for quarterbacks, running backs, receivers and defensive backs Friday through Sunday at MVHS from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Information: jamesmacphersonfootball.com. … Former Sabino and UA golfer Nathan Tyler, who reached the final state of PGA Tour Qualifying School this year, pushed his season earnings to more than $100,000 last week by winning the All-American Professional Golf Tour event in Scottsdale. Tyler shot 63-67-73 and was paid $9,500. … Cochise College basketball coach Jerry Carrillo attended the UA-Florida game, catching up with ex-Cochise star Matt Korcheck, now a UA redshirt. Carrillo has fully rebuilt the Apaches in short time: They are 10-1, ranked No. 25 in the NJCAA and leading the difficult ACCAC at 7-0.
More Short Stuff
Former Eagle Gould lands first head coaching job
When Ron Gould graduated from Santa Rita High School in 1983, his football odyssey took him to Scottsdale Community College, to Wichita State and to the Oregon Ducks, where he became a starting defensive back. Last week, after coaching at Oregon, Portland State, Boise State and Cal, Gould became the head coach at UC Davis. He is to earn $235,000 in base salary. … Another former Tucson prep football standout, Flowing Wells' Jeff Thomas, finished his third season as head coach at University of Puget Sound with an 0-9 record. Thomas is struggling, 2-25 in three seasons at UPS. … In Santa Rita grad Terrell Stoglin's second pro basketball game, last week for Ilysiakos of Athens, Greece, he scored 32 points. He's averaging 25.5. … Even though he left Tucson last spring to begin a pro basketball career with the Azovmash Mariupol franchise in Ukraine, ex-UA center Kyryl Natyazhko earned his UA degree Dec. 15, in three years. Natyazhko is averaging 11.7 minutes and 7.5 points for Azovmash in a league that often requires bus trips of up to 14 hours from city to city. … Trey Mason, son of former UA shooting guard Harvey Mason, took an official recruiting visit to Portland last week. Trey is the leading scorer for Los Angeles Loyola High School (18.0), a team ranked No. 2 in California and No. 24 nationally. His name? Trey has hit 28 treys in just eight games this season. … Tucsonan Gil Heredia, star pitcher for Arizona's 1986 College World Series championship team, has been promoted by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Heredia will be the pitching coach of the Class A Visalia affiliate in 2013; he held a similar position on the D-backs Rookie League club in Missoula, Mont., last year.
Pittsburgh-area recruit follows Francona's steps
After Arizona won the 1976 NCAA baseball title, it successfully recruited Pennsylvania's top prospect, first baseman/outfielder Terry Francona, who was then a high school junior in the greater Pittsburgh area. Now, after winning the 2012 College World Series, UA coach Andy Lopez has received a pledge from Pennsylvania's No. 1- rated prospect from the Class of 2014, lefty-hitting first baseman J.J. Matijevic of the greater Pittsburgh area. Matijevic flew to Tucson for a UA camp in late November and made a commitment to play for Arizona a week later. … MoMo Jones is averaging 22 points a game as a senior at Iona. He is taking 17 field-goal attempts per game, up from his 8.2 per game during his sophomore season at Arizona. … In his first game for Providence last week, ex-UA center Sidiki Johnson played 16 minutes and grabbed eight rebounds in a win over Colgate. He played just nine minutes before being dismissed from Arizona's roster a year ago. … As Greg Byrne hustles to discover funding sources for the remaining $35 million or so being financed at Arizona Stadium, the option of selling naming rights to the old stadium exists. The New Mexico Lobos named their football playing surface after Albuquerque attorney Turner Branch, who is paying $100,000 a year for 15 years, or $1.5 million. That amount might turn heads in the Mountain West Conference, but in the Pac-12, it would take at least $1.5 million per year, and $15 million over 10 years, just to start the negotiations. … The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association did not include UA outfielder Johnny Field, the Pac-12 batting champ, and College World Series pitching star Konner Wade, on its 2013 preseason All-America first- and second-teams last week. If there are 20 or 30 college players better than Wade and Field, it's going to be an unusually strong year. … I saw an Internet video last week in which Mike Bibby helps to coach his freshman son, Mike Bibby Jr., at Phoenix Shadow Mountain High School. It was eerie. The young Bibby not only wears his father's No. 10 jersey - which has been retired at Arizona - he has the same mannerisms, sets up to shoot exactly the same way, dribbles with the same motion, has the same haircut and slight build. Now comes the hard part: forging his own career. Bibby is averaging 7.3 points with a career-high 14 against Sunnyside.
My Two Cents
Many Pac-12 games still unavailable on DirecTV
Since the Pac-12 Networks' debut last summer, I have been unable to get that channel while staying at hotels in Denver, Albuquerque, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Eugene, Ore.
Worse, I still can't get it on my home television, cursed by DirecTV's standoff with the Pac-12. Arizona has remaining broadcasts on the Pac-12 Networks against Utah (twice), Wazzu, Cal, Colorado and USC. The clock ticks. Nothing happens.
Last week, at random, a representative of the Dish Network phoned and asked if I would consider switching cable companies. How can this stalemate be good for DirecTV?