Tucson High School Sports

Former Arizona Wildcats Standout Sue Darling What Southern Arizona High School Basketball Needs as Head Coach

Her last name — Darling — is appropriate because she really is a darling to Southern Arizona basketball when it comes to her importance with the girls basketball landscape in these parts.

No head coach in the Tucson-area in all sports at all levels — high school, Pima College or the University of Arizona — has the kind of background Sue Darling has as a coach.

Her head coaching stops include NAU, Air Force, Pima College, Amphi, Salpointe Catholic, Denver Mullen High School and now Catalina Foothills. She was an assistant at her alma mater Arizona (where she was a team captain in 1980-81 and 1981-82), ASU, St. John’s, Dartmouth, Northwestern and the professional team Seattle Reign.

Sue Darling instructs her Catalina Foothills team during a timeout at the Flowing Wells Holiday Tournament this weekend (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Darling’s odyssey included a four-year break from 2005 to 2008 to become a police officer at Boulder, Colo. After a bout with breast cancer, she said she took a step back and pursued her dream of working in criminal justice after desiring to be in the FBI when she was younger. But she developed an itch to return to coaching and was hired by former Arizona head coach Niya Butts to be an assistant in 2008.

Here is Darling’s coaching background after graduating from CDO in 1978 and earning her bachelors degree in education at Arizona in 1983:

Pima College assistant 1983-84
Salpointe head coach 1984-85
Pima College head coach 1985-86
St. John’s graduate assistant 1986-88 (earned her Master’s degree in business administration in marketing at St. John’s)
Amphi head coach 1988-90
ASU assistant 1990-91
Dartmouth assistant 1991-93
ASU assistant 1993-96
Seattle Reign assistant 1996-97
Air Force head coach 1998-2001
Northwestern assistant 2002-04
Denver Mullen head coach 2004-05
Arizona assistant 2008-12
NAU head coach 2012-16
Catalina Foothills head coach 2017-present

She also finds time to coach the Utterback Middle School boys basketball team.

In this video, Darling comments about her coaching background, her brief time as a police officer, coaching in Tucson again and her vision for the improvement of girls basketball in Southern Arizona.

Darling is one of 37 former Arizona athletes who are now head coaches. Here is a complete list of those active coaches:


List of head coaches of various sports and different levels who competed at Arizona. *-Denotes did not finish career at Arizona. Compiled by AllSportsTucson.com.
NameUATeam SportStart
Candace Abrams2000-04Clarendon (Texas) JCSoftball2020
Amy Baray-Rocha1999Salpointe Catholic HSSoftball2015
Adia Barnes1995-99ArizonaWomen's hoops2016
Marcus Bell1996-99Eagar Round Valley HSFootball2011
Heidi Bomberger-Bruschi1993-97Attleboro (MA) Feehan HSVolleyball 2020
Matt Brase2003-05Haiti National TeamMen's hoops2017
Robert Bonillas1995-98Desert View HSFootball2012
Tod Brown1990-94New MexicoBaseball2022
Casey Candaele1980-82Toronto Blue Jays Triple-ABaseball2021
Jackie Coburn2002-05Scottsdale Horizon HSSoftball2013
Troy Cooke1982-84Show Low HSBoys hoops2020
Clark Crist1977-80Pulaski (VA) River TurtlesBaseball2021
Debby Day1989-91Cal-LutheranSoftball2002
Jay Dobyns1982-84Tanque Verde HSFootball2020
Britt Echols*2001Sahuaro HSBaseball2020
Byron Evans 1983-86South Mountain HSFootball2020
Terry Francona1977-80Cleveland IndiansMLB2013
Tanya Farhat-Villarreal1994-97West Bend (WI) Slinger HSSoftball2015
Brenda Frese1989-93MarylandWomen's hoops2002
Kristie Fox2004-07UNLVSoftball2017
Margo Geer2011-14AlabamaSwimming/Diving2020
Jason Hisey1988-91Canyon del Oro HSBaseball2019
Jack Howell1983Anaheim Angels Single-ABaseball2021
Krista Humphreys1993-96Corona (CA) Centennial HSSoftball2015
Stacey Iveson1986-89Israel National TeamSoftball2019
Mark Keel1979-82Silverdale (WA) Central Kitsap HSFootball2000
Steve Kerr1983-88Golden State WarriorsNBA2014
Michael Klyce2004-08Los Angeles Locke HSFootball2017
David Landrith1980-83Pusch Ridge HSBaseball2019
Andy Litten1999-03Scottsdale Horizon HSFootball2021
Hunter Long2013-15Douglas HSFootball2019
Michael Lopez2009-12Big Spring (TX) Howard JCBaseball2020
Caitlin Lowe2004-07Arizona Softball2022
Paige Maggio2013-16Mountain View HSGirls soccer2018
Brandon Manumaleuna1997-00Lawndale (CA) Leuzinger HSFootball2020
Jennifer Martinez2008-09Abraham Baldwin (GA) JCSoftball2017
Scott McKee1999-02Sahuaro HSFootball2009
Craig McMillan1984-88Santa Rosa (CA) JCMen's hoops2000
Richard Mercado2002-04Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei HSBaseball2019
Leighton Milton1992-93Hollywood (CA) HSFootball2020
Edwin Mulitalo1995-98Southern VirginiaFootball2018
Ronnie Palmer2005-08Monterrey Peninsula (CA) JCFootball2020
Josh Pastner1996-00Georgia TechMen's hoops2016
Jose Portilla1996-97Heritage AcademyFootball2017
Jody Pruitt1990-93Peoria Sunrise Mountain HSSoftball2011
Rebekah Quiroz2002Pima CCSoftball2019
Danielle Steinberg2005-09ColoradoWomen's tennis2018
Gina Snyder2018-19Manatee (FL) SqueezeSoftball2020
Jason Stewart1997-99Encinitas (CA) San Dieguito HSBoys hoops2014
Damon Stoudamire1992-95PacificMen's hoops2016
Rafael Valenzuela2008-10Tampa Bay Rays Rookie LeagueBaseball2019
Luke Walton1999-03Sacramento KingsNBA2019


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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