Former Tucson High forward Marsharne Flannigan was a first-team All-Star selection in 2004 on a squad that included guard Jorge Leon and forward Joe Kay. The Badgers finished with a 22-6 record and a No. 4 seed to the 5A state tourney that year but it was also the year Kay suffered a stroke due to fans storming the court after the Badgers defeated Salpointe and their future college standout Damir Suljagic.
Flannigan was the co-captain on that team and he found a spot on the Pima roster after graduation before transferring to Western New Mexico then Carroll University and, after six years as an assistant coach, Palo Verde athletic director Jason Karn recently introduced Flannigan as the next head coach of the boy’s program.
“Palo Verde is pleased to announce Marsharne Flannigan as our next boys varsity basketball coach,” Karn wrote on the school’s website dedicated to athletics. “He will take over a program coming off a Final Four appearance and returning several players.”
The No. 6 Titans lost to No. 7 Snowflake 60-52 in the Division III semifinals and then Snowflake went on to win the championship. Jimmie Nelson Jr. led Palo Verde to a 17-12 record and was named Arizona Small School Coach of the Year but the coaching position opened up again and Flannigan became the fourth coach in four years.
Flannigan hopes to bring stability to the program.
“I’ve been coaching for six years,” Flannigan said. “I originally started coaching at Tucson High under Gary Lewis (also my high school coach) for four years where he took me under his wing and give me the tools to be a successful coach.
“I was the JV coach at Palo Verde last year and assisted Jimmie Nelson at the varsity level in which we made it to the Final Four. My plan is to continue what we started last year by providing my student athletes with the fundamentals of the game that will enhance their skills to play as a team. I want to develop productive citizens that will be able to move forward after high school.”
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Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here, on AZPreps365.com and on the pages of the Vail Voice and the Tanque Verde Voice. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com