A few feet from tears flowing on the faces of Catalina Foothills’ players — their season over and their time with legendary coach Jeff Scurran done — a few of Scurran’s former players greeted him on the field last night with smiles.
“Look at these faces from the past,” Scurran said to them before hugging them like an endearing dad.
Scurran stayed on the field almost a half-hour among a throng of supporters, former players and family after the Falcons’ 21-14 loss, a game in which they led 14-0 and battled into the fourth quarter with a chance to tie the game with less than 2 minutes remaining against the fifth-ranked Cougars (8-2 overall, 4-1 in the 4A Kino).
Catalina Foothills (4-6, 2-3) just didn’t have enough for the upset, with only 24 active players and having to deal with players getting hurt throughout the game.
Scurran, who told his players Monday this would be his last game as their coach, concluded his six years at Catalina Foothills with a 44-24 record. His run there included being the Class 4A state runner-up in 2016 with Rhett Rodriguez as his quarterback.
When asked to reflect on his career, Scurran became emotional and paused.
“I feel like I’ve been blessed,” he said. “My family has compromised so much, so many people have gone to the wall for me. … It’s hard to imagine after a loss but I feel like a very fortunate man.”
He again spoke emotionally about what his players have meant to him through the years.
“This week has just been unreal,” Scurran said. “The letters, messages and things that I’ve gotten from former players, telling me how I’ve impacted their lives … that makes you feel good.”
Scurran than broke away to hug his wife Joan and members of his family.
After talking with him, it is safe to say Scurran has not coached his last game. He could possibly return to Europe to be a pro coach, like he did in 2012 with a team in Italy, a year before he started at Catalina Foothills.
He is 71 but he is a spry 71. He fainted following an early-season game at Sabino but doctors have given him a full bill of health.
“They say you have the blood of a 40-year-old and you have the heart of a 20-year-old — you can’t ask for anything more than that at my age,” Scurran said.
When asked if he still has it in him to coach, Scurran said, “I’m just open to the world. I really consider myself a world adventurer. If things come up and they happen, and they look good enough, and it’s a challenge that I like, you bet.”
Here is a complete list of Scurran’s head coaching career, compiled by AllSportsTucson.com:
|1970-71||Atlanta (Ga.) Moreland School||20-0|
|1978||Tahoe-Truckee (Calif.) High School||3-5-1|
|1981||Dalles (Ore.) Wahtonka High School||9-2|
|1982-83||Portland (Ore.) West Linn High School||9-10|
|1984-86||Canyon del Oro High School||28-10|
|1988-99||Sabino High School||127-27-1||3 state titles|
|2001-04||Pima Community College||26-17|
|2007-09||Santa Rita High School||34-7||2 state runner-up|
|2012||Guelfi Firenze (Italy) Pro Team||9-1|
|2013-18||Catalina Foothills High School||44-24||1 state runner-up|
|Total||Tucson high schools||233-42-1||.846|
|Total||All high schools||254-59-2||.809|
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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.