Tucson High School Sports

Local Football Head Coaching Vacancy: Tanque Verde In Search of Next Leader


Tanque Verde’s progression from Division II football (basically 2A) to Class 3A in 2016 has been a difficult one with the Hawks going 8-32 over the last four years.

Jeremiah Johnson, Tanque Verde’s coach since 2014, tried the best he could with the increase in the level of competition and the resources he had at the school to make the program competitive in the 3A South. Johnson, 11-49 in his six years at Tanque Verde and 5-15 in three years with Miami before that, is no longer the Hawks’ coach. He has decided to pursue other possibilities.

Jeremiah Johnson
Former Tanque Verde coach Jeremiah Johnson talks with the Hawks (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Johnson is the third coach locally to create a vacancy heading into the 2020 season.

The others are Pusch Ridge with Jerry Harris resigning after the season to concentrate on his private line of work and Salpointe with 19-year coach Dennis Bene stepping down to spend more time with his family while he operates the business in which he owns along with his family — Southern Arizona Paving Co.

Bene is 184-43 in his career — all at Salpointe — heading into Saturday’s Open Division semifinal game against Chandler after coaching the Lancers past Phoenix Pinnacle last night.

Harris went 30-16 in his four-year tenure, including a 13-1 record in 2017 when the Lions advanced to the 3A state title game with dual-threat quarterback Christian Fetsis, who passed for 1,296 yards and rushed for 1,181.

“This was an agonizing decision as I love coaching football at PRCA and all the people involved with the program, especially the players,” Harris told me. “However, over the last two years I have had a growing inability to balance my work responsibilities with my coaching responsibilities to the point that I wasn’t able to do either to my satisfaction.

“My plan is to try to make the transition to the next head coach as smooth as possible and focus on what I need to at my work for the next couple of years. I pray that God will give me another chapter in life to coach down the road, but I’m grateful for the time I was afforded to coach.”


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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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