Arizona athletes

Catching up with 32 Arizona Wildcats as head coaches high schools to pros


The number of former Arizona Wildcats as head coaches from high school to the professional ranks stands at 32 following the recent dismissals of Arizona Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale and NAU women’s basketball coach Sue Darling and the decision of former baseball standout Colt Sedbrook to step down as Boulder (Colo.) High School coach after last season to go into private instruction of youth baseball players. Former Arizona walk-on lineman Andy Litten, head football coach at Marana who played at Marana Mountain View, has been added to this list.

FORMER ARIZONA ATHLETES AS CURRENT HEAD COACHES

High school boy’s basketball (3)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Mike Bibby 1996-98 Phoenix Shadow Mountain 2014
Kelvin Eafon 1995-98 Pueblo 2014
Jason Stewart 1997-99 Encinitas (CA) San Dieguito 2014

NOTE: Mike Bibby is returning as Phoenix Shadow Mountain although his son Michael Bibby Jr. is off to college playing at South Florida as a freshman this season. “I’d like to eventually move onto bigger and better things,” Bibby Sr. told the Arizona Republic. “I don’t know when that will be. We’ll have to wait and see. I definitely would like to move up in the ranks. Maybe go to college. Maybe the NBA some day.”

Men’s college basketball (4)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Jason Gardner 1999-03 IUPUI 2014
Craig McMillan 1984-88 Santa Rosa (CA) JC 2000
Josh Pastner 1996-00 Georgia Tech 2016
Damon Stoudamire 1992-95 Pacific 2016

NOTES: Jason Gardner is 23-40 after two seasons at IUPUI but there is optimism his team will become a challenger in the Summit League this season. Media in the region where Gardner coaches is impressed with his assemblage of talent, most of which is from Indiana, where basketball rules. … McMillan is entering his 17th season at Santa Rosa with a career record there of 334-167.

Damon Stoudamire’s coaching debut at Pacific is Fri., Nov. 11, at UCLA. Do you think memories of his rivalry with the Bruins when he played at Arizona will go through his mind more than once?

Josh Pastner has his hands full taking on the Georgia Tech job. “It’s a startup company,” he told the media recently. “They’ve (Georgia Tech) hit the reset button. Basically, start from ground zero and try to build it back up, and knowing that it’s going to take some time to do that. They didn’t make that decision saying we’ve got to try to win right now, that it’s make or break this year. It’s like, ‘Hey, we’re just kind of completely blowing it up and starting over.'”

Men’s professional basketball (4)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Matt Brase 2003-05 Rio Grande (D-League) 2015
Reggie Geary 1992-96 Nagoya (Japan) 2015
Steve Kerr 1983-88 Golden State (NBA) 2014
Luke Walton 1999-03 L.A. Lakers (NBA) 2016

NOTES: Brase, Lute Olson’s grandson who is a former Catalina Foothills standout and Arizona walk-on, is starting his second season with Rio Grande. Former Arizona center and graduate assistant Joseph Blair has rejoined Brase as a Rio Grande assistant this season. … Geary is 6-1 to start the season with Nagoya, which includes former ASU center Jordan Bachynski.

Mark the calendar: Steve Kerr and Luke Walton are scheduled to coach against each other for the first time Nov. 4 at the Staples Center when the Warriors face the Lakers. It will be the first time two former Arizona players coached against each other in the NBA as head coaches.

College baseball (2)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Tod Brown 1990-94 North Dakota State 2007
Bill Kinneberg 1979-80 Utah 2005

NOTES: Tod Brown, inducted into Sabino High School’s Hall of Fame this year, enters his 11th season at North Dakota State. Brown has a record of 244-274 at a program that did not place an emphasis on baseball until he got there. … Utah won the outright Pac-12 title last season under Kinneberg, who is entering his 13th season with the Utes. Utah finished first last season after four consecutive last-place finishes.

Professional baseball (2)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Shelley Duncan 1999-01 Class A Hillsboro (OR) 2015
Terry Francona 1977-80 Cleveland (MLB) 2013

NOTE: Despite using a league-record 63 players (the previous high had been 56), Shelley Duncan’s Hillsboro team made the Northwest League playoffs and finished with the second-best half in franchise history, going 23-14 in the second half this season.

The national media has picked up on the discussion of Terry Francona being a certainty for the Hall of Fame as a manager, which would make him the first Arizona player to earn that honor.

Women’s college basketball (2)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Brenda Frese 1989-93 Maryland 2002
Adia Barnes 1995-99 Arizona 2016

NOTE: Brenda Frese is entering her 18th season as a head coach — 15th at Maryland — with a career record of 428-138 while Adia Barnes is embarking on her first head coaching assignment at her alma mater.

Adia Barnes has that fighting spirit and personality that can finally make a difference in Tucson.

High school football (8)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Marcus Bell 1996-99 Eager Round Valley 2011
Robert Bonillas 1995-98 Desert View 2012
Andy Litten 1999-2000 Marana 2011
Mark Keel 1979-82 Silverdale (WA) Central Kitsap 2000
Scott McKee 1999-02 Sahuaro 2009
Clarence McRae 2003-04 Mountain View 2012
Antonio Pierce 1999-00 Long Beach Poly 2014
Brandon Sanders 1995-98 Pueblo 2014

NOTES: Former Arizona linebacker standout Marcus Bell has coached Round Valley to the 2A East title with a 9-0 record heading into the regular season finale Friday against visiting St. Johns. … Bonillas’ Desert View team is 7-2 after last night’s loss to Marana. … Keel is in his 17th season at Central Kitsap with a record of 88-81. … Brandon Sanders has the Pueblo Warriors 6-3 heading into a big game at Amphi (7-2) on Friday.

Maybe the Antonio Pierce connection with Long Beach Poly can pay off in Arizona’s recruitment of twins Keon and Kejuan Markham, high-caliber wide receiver and safety, respectively

College softball (3)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Debby Day 1989-91 Cal-Lutheran 2002
Kristie Fox 2004-07 Texas-Arlington 2013
Leticia Pineda-Boutté 1995-98 Washington-St. Louis 2006

NOTES: Debby Day is a coaching veteran at Cal Lutheran having completed 14 seasons with a record of 261-283. … Kristie Fox coached UTA to a 29-20 record, the most wins since achieving 30 in 2011. UTA won 19 straight games to start last season, a record start for the program. One highlight of the season was knocking off No. 5 Louisiana 3-1, limiting one of the best offenses in the nation to six hits. … In 11 seasons, Washington University in St. Louis coach Leticia Pineda-Boutté (Leh-tee-cee-uh Pih-NAY-dah Boo-TAY) has posted a 351-133-1 overall record, good for a 72.5 winning percentage. The Bears have recorded 11-straight seasons of at least 25 wins under Pineda-Boutté, and have won six University Athletic Association (UAA) titles and made 10 NCAA Tournament appearances. They went 35-12 and advanced to the regionals last season.

High school softball (4)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Amy Baray-Rocha 1999 Salpointe 2015
Jackie Coburn 2002-05 Scottsdale Horizon 2013
Danielle Rodriguez 2006-08 Tucson 2010
Jody Pruitt 1990-93 Peoria Sunrise Mountain 2011

NOTES: Amy Baray-Rocha was the Arizona Big School Coach of the Year in 2015, her first season as a head coach. Interestingly enough, Baray-Rocha and Tucson’s Danielle Rodriguez coached against each other in last year’s state playoffs with Salpointe coming out on top 13-7 in a Division II elimination game. … Jackie Coburn is 64-34 in three years at Horizon and achieved region titles in 2014 and 2015. … Two years after her hire at Peoria Sunrise Mountain, Jody Pruitt coached her team to a Division II state title with a 35-1 record. She is trying to rekindle that magic after not making the playoffs in 2014 and last year. Sunrise Mountain reached the quarterfinals in 2015.

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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