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Joseph Luevano to Coach Salpointe Girls Basketball

Joseph Luevano was in the lead chair the last three years. (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Joseph Luevano is set to replace Justin Curran as the head girls basketball coach at Salpointe. Curran coached the Lancers to a 92-60 record in his six years with the program including three straight playoff appearances to close out his tenure, with three top ten rankings and a No. 6 nod in 2018-2019. Luevano was Curran’s assistant in those last three years.

“My role allowed me to work with athletes at all levels of the program. My focus was player development,” Luevano said. “Coach Curran allowed me to run much our preseason and off season training programs and I was the JV head last year also, my team went 18-0 with a special group of young athletes.”

Luevano has a background in the medical field, specifically as an orthopedic technician and he currently works for Children’s Clinics as the Adaptive Recreation Coordinator and Equipment Coordinator.

“We serve children with special health care needs throughout Southern Arizona and I’ve been with the clinic for nearly eight years,” Luevano added. “I started the Adaptive Rec program with a pediatric physical therapist. We provide adaptive tricycles and sports programming to children with special needs. We’ve gifted almost 400 tricycles in four years.”

Luevano is an important part of the resurgence of the Lancer program and he will take floor with a couple of seasoned seniors in Jaya Nelson and Brianna Arizmendi.

“We have a very talented roster returning and we are led by one of the most experienced and talented back courts in the state led by previous all conference awardees Jaya Nelson, Brianna Arizmendi and Kylee Callahan. We have a strong post presence and a deep roster of talent.”

Luevano is no stranger to school pride and he is eager to take over the reins at Salpointe and that pride comes from growing up in rural Arizona.

“I grew up in the small towns of Superior and Kearny where school pride and sports were very meaningful to the community. This is why I feel right at home at Salpointe,” Luevano added. “Salpointe’s school pride, strong sense of community and support is unmatched.

“I am incredibly honored and grateful for the opportunity to lead Salpointe Girls Basketball. I’m grateful for the opportunities that a lot of great people have given me especially Coach Curran.”

The climb from a No. 40 ranking in 2014 to a state contender today means Luevano will have to try to keep the momentum of success built by Curran alive.

“This was the single most difficult decision I’ve had to make as this particular group is poised and built to make a deep playoff run and legitimately contend for the 4A title this season,” Curran explained. “Since taking over, I’ve cared for these athletes like family but it’s time for me to focus on my family and to start a family of my own.”

Curran brought back some of the winning ways from the past when a dominant player by the name of Sybil Dosty scored 25 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to help lead Salpointe to a runner-up state finish in 2003 to Gilbert Highland. Dosty was part of a five-year run that saw the Lancers reach the state semifinals in the highest division in the state (2002-2006) but a first-round exit in 2007 led to a decade of struggling to recapture those glory days.

Through his guidance, Curran was able to bring success back to Kalil Court despite not having that one dominant player with size.

“I find solace in knowing Coach Joe will continue with the culture and expectations we have built and it’s a bonus that the Lancer community has reached out expressing their gratitude and that I’ll always be welcome at Salpointe.”

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Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. 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. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019 and he is a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. Contact Andy Morales at amoralesmytucson@yahoo.com

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