For Stevenses, state championships a family affair
Mark and Kristie Stevens met while working in the genetics department at University Medical Center. She had been a tennis player at Division III Scripps College in Claremont, Calif.; he was a baseball player who had been part of the Yavapai College program.
Yada, yada, yada, they got married, and Kristie became a teacher and tennis coach who has piloted Catalina Foothills’ girls tennis team to an impressive 13 state championships. Mark became head of the UA’s anatomical pathology department and a Little League baseball and softball coach.
Last week, Mark added to the family’s state championship bounty, coaching the Catalina Foothills softball team to the state Division III championship. To make it a better story, their daughter, Natalie, a .317-hitting third baseman, accepted a scholarship to play softball and study at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott.
Their son, Patrick, is a walk-on defensive back on the Arizona football team.
As far as I can research, there has never been a husband-wife coaching combination to win state championships in Arizona. This shouldn’t come as a surprise for those who followed Mark’s coaching career in the Canyon View Little League. After four years as president of the CVLL, one of the softball fields at Mehl Park was named Mark Stevens Field.
The Foothills state championship is filled with good story angles. The club’s pitching ace, sophomore Nicole Conway, who struck out 302 batters in 198 innings, is the daughter of Kevin Conway, who was a manager for Dick Tomey’s UA football teams. Nicole’s private pitching coach is former UA All-American Alicia Hollowell Dunn.
The club’s No. 2 pitcher, junior Sophie Plattner, is the granddaughter of Dr. David Alberts, former director of the UMC Cancer Center.
A year ago, Stevens’ third at CFHS, the Falcons lost games to traditional powers CDO, Ironwood Ridge and Sahuaro by scores of 25-3, 18-2 and 19-0. All of that has changed.
About the only disappointment in the Stevens’ house this season was that Kristie’s CFHS tennis team finished second in the state finals, narrowly missing her 14th state championship.
But a few days later her husband moved the family total to 14 – and growing.