Over the next 12 days, the Star will reveal our picks for Tucson’s best high school football coaches of all time. Our countdown continues today with Todd Mayfield, who led Palo Verde to the 4A-II state title in 2005.
No. 12 Todd Mayfield
Schools: Palo Verde and Tucson High
Years in coaching: 1982-2009 and 2013
Local record: 178-129-3
Achievements: Prior to a 12-year run at Palo Verde that included winning a state title, Mayfield spent 16 years coaching on the same sidelines as his father at Tucson High. Todd Mayfield was named the Star’s Coach of the Year in 1986 when he led the Badgers to the state playoffs in after they had gone 15 years without reaching the postseason.
Coincidentally, the last time Tucson High had been there was in 1971, when Ollie Mayfield led the team to its second straight state title. The Badgers only reached the playoffs once more before Todd Mayfield moved to Palo Verde. The Titans reached the postseason 10 times, winning the 4A-II state title in 2005 and reaching the state semifinals in 2009. Mayfield stepped down after the 2009 season to care for his father, who died in January 2013.
Mayfield returned to Palo Verde last fall and went 5-5 to increase his record with the team to 97-50, but he retired following the season. In Mayfield’s three seasons away from Palo Verde, it went a combined 8-22.
Memorable moment: A year after watching his team go 4-6 and miss the state playoffs in 2004, Mayfield had the signature moment of his nearly three decades of coaching in 2005. Fourth-seeded Palo Verde — a perennial underdog — beat No. 2 Cottonwood Mingus 15-7 in front of a hometown crowd at Arizona Stadium to win the 4A-II state title and take home its second championship in program history.
While that win was certainly memorable, the one in the previous week may have been even bigger. The Titans held top-seeded Phoenix Arcadia to just 224 total yards and beat the Titans 10-0 to avenge a season-opening loss. The Titans finished the season 11-3 and Mayfield was again named the Star’s Coach of the Year.
From the archives: “Coach Mayfield got it out of us. All year long he said we could be state champions, and here we are. All we can do is trust one another in this family, and we did. And we won it.” — Junior cornerback Ronnell Grant in the Dec. 3, 2005 Arizona Daily Star
Big number: 5. Mayfield guided Palo Verde to the state playoffs in each of his first five seasons with the team. He finally broke through in that fifth season in 2002 as the Titans earned their first postseason win since 1973, when they went 13-0 and won the 3A — now 5A — state crown under Van Howe, who started the program.
Coming up: Find out who is ranked No. 11 in Thursday’s Star.