The Phoenix Union High School football team in action in 1926. Courtesy Phoenix Union HS District

In celebration of Arizona's centennial, the Star will feature our picks for the 100 best athletes, moments and teams.

Throughout the summer, we will showcase our list - with the first 90 in no particular order. In August, Greg Hansen will choose his top 10, with a column on each.

Phoenix Union High School football program


The state's most dominant high school football program no longer exists.

Phoenix Union High School was credited with 25 state championships before being closed in 1982.

To this day, the school's 25 titles rank sixth-best in the history of American prep football, though 11 behind leader Sioux Falls (S.D.) Washington High School.

The school's nine straight state titles from 1920 to 1928 made up the third-best run in U.S. history, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.

The Coyotes fielded some of the state's best-known athletes and teams.

Cecil Mulleneux, who was a four-time all-state lineman and graduated in 1928, was the first Arizonan to play in the NFL.

George Greathouse played two years at Phoenix Union after desegregation, scoring 37 touchdowns and going 17-1-2. Fred Carr, who is enshrined in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, played there, too.

One reason for dominance: raw numbers. From statehood in 1912 until closing in 1982, Phoenix Union housed more students than any other in Arizona.

Its largest figure came in the 1963-64 school year. That year, 6,320 students were enrolled.

Did you know?

The school was located at Seventh Street and Van Buren in downtown Phoenix, a site that was named to the National Register of Historical Places. In 2007, the UA College of Medicine renovated and expanded the buildings, and moved in.

The big number


The year Phoenix Union went 13-0. The "Wonder Team" was named national champion by a wire service after defeating Tucson High.

Patrick Finley