The Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) approved a measure to rename the South Gym at Pueblo High School to the “Roland LaVetter Gym” back on Oct. 16, 2018 and the tireless efforts to formally recognize Roland LaVetter came to fruition during a dedication ceremony held at the school Tuesday night.
LaVetter was inducted into the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame in 1995 after a fruitful teaching and coaching career that spanned almost 30 years at Pueblo, Rincon and Catalina. Always a mentor and teacher first, LaVetter became the fourth basketball coach from Southern Arizona to win back-to-back state championships while coaching at Pueblo.
His 1977 team went 25-5 on the year, and defeated Sunnyside 42-37 in the state title game, and his 1978 team went undefeated at 28-0, and took care of Rincon 70-54 in the state championship game. His 1978 team was the first from Southern Arizona to go undefeated since legendary Marana coach Norm Patton’s 1972 squad went 25-0 and it ended the year ranked No. 1 in the Southwest and No. 4 in the nation.
How difficult is it to guide a “Big School” to an undefeated season? Only three 5A-6A teams in the state of Arizona have finished the year undefeated since LaVetter guided his undefeated 1978 squad.
SOUTHERN ARIZONA BACK-TO-BACK
Bud Doolen, 5A Tucson (1948-1949)
Norm Patton, 2A Marana (1969-1970)
Don Harris, 4A Buena (1969-1970)
Roland LaVetter, 5A Pueblo (1977-1978)
Johnny Tissaw, 4A Canyon del Oro (1977-1978)
Ray Molera, 4A Nogales (1982-1983)
Dick McConnell, 4A Sahuaro (2000-2001)
Paul Baranowski, 1A St. Gregory (2008-2009)
Former Pima County Supervisor Dan Eckstrom graduated from Pueblo in 1965 and he served as the Master of Ceremonies. Speakers included Interim Principal Frank Rosthenhausler, Rincon Head Coach Rich Utter, former players Selso Villegas, Raul Almazon, Tony Mosley, Dora Leal Vidal, Calvin Fuller and Lafayette “Fat” Lever. LaVetter’s high school classmate (Tucson High), Dr. J. Michael Morgan addressed the crowd as did his son, Lance LaVetter.
Lance LaVetter is the current Director of Basketball Operations at the University of San Diego and Lever went on to play for Arizona State before playing in the NBA for 11 seasons from 1982-1994.
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and he 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 and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at