Coach Vern Friedli of Amphitheater High School congratulates players as the clock winds down against Mesa High to win the 1979 Arizona state football championship on Dec. 6, 1979.

Vern Friedli, who coached Amphitheater High School to the 1979 state football championship and coached a then-state record 331 victories, died Friday in Tucson. He was 80.

The man who began his coaching career at Sunnyside Junior High School in 1961, the son of a lumberjack from Northern California, is the last Tucson coach to win the state championship at Arizona's highest level of competition.

Friedli retired from Amphi after the 2011 season; he suffered multiple strokes over the last few years.

He was hired at Amphi in April of 1976, succeeding Jerry Loper, who coached the Panthers to the 1975 state championship.

Contact sports columnist Greg Hansen at 520-573-4362 or On Twitter: @ghansen711