All Sports Tucson Talk

Podcast: Interview with Benson Coach Chris Determan about Background, Bobcats’ Youth

When told he may be the best well-kept secret among local high school football coaches, Benson’s Chris Determan chuckled.

Coming from Wall, S.D., when he was only 30 and spending the last 18 years coaching in the small town of Benson, Determan has no problem being out of the big-city lights.

Determan has coached Benson since 2003 and has a career record of 133-81-1 dating back to coaching nine-man football in South Dakota in 1996 to 1997 before moving to Southern Arizona.

Chris Determan is one of the top five active local coaches in career victories with 133 (Andy Morales/

He will coach the Bobcats (7-0) in the Class 2A semifinals against Arizona Lutheran (6-0) on Saturday at Gilbert Higley High School at 6 p.m.

Wanting a change, Determan sought a head-coaching job in a small-town atmosphere where he and his wife Michelle could relocate. He discovered the head-coaching position was open at Benson at a job fair.

“(Benson) is actually bigger than where I grew up (in Wall); I grew up in a town of 600,” Determan said. “I’m not a big traffic guy. I didn’t want to have to drive … I don’t care if it’s Tucson, Phoenix, wherever if it takes me an hour or 45 minutes to get to the other side of town, that’s too much.

“At the same time, I always liked the small-town kids. It seems like they do a great job and they work hard. When they’re there, they’re there to work. That’s kind of a draw for a small town. We don’t have all the stuff. We’re 45 minutes out from Tucson, so we can still go in and get what we want. But I don’t need to be there.”

Benson coach Chris Determan is in his 18 season at the school (Benson photo)

A unique aspect of his team — not one senior is a major producer. The Bobcats are stocked with talented juniors who have played extensively at the varsity level before this season.

Determan is five years removed from leading Benson to a 13-1 record and spot in the 2A state championship game. He has coached the Bobcats beyond the opening round of the state playoffs in five out of the last six years.

Although this year’s team is without an impact senior, Determan indicated it does not take a backseat to any of his previous 11 playoff teams at Benson.

He talks about that aspect and about his top players in our latest podcast.

His leaders include:

— His son, Brok Determan, a junior quarterback, who has passed for 281 yards and rushed for 150.

Devin Bowling (6) celebrates a touchdown with Angel Rigney (Andy Morales/

— Junior running back Devin Bowling, who leads the Bobcats with 831 yards on 91 carries with 12 touchdowns.

— Junior running back Jace Barney, younger brother of last year’s rushing leader, Carson Barney. Jace has 401 yards on 76 carries with six touchdowns.

— Junior linebacker Cameron McFarland, the team’s leading tackler with 39. Fellow junior linebacker Ryan Francione is next with 32.


Southern Arizona High School Football Coaching Records

List of top Tucson-area high school football coaches and their overall career head coaching records. Compiled and researched by
Tom JosephSanta Rita2A170880.65923
Richard SanchezTucson6A161770.67621
Pat NugentMica Mountain5A138570.70818
Chris DetermanBenson2A134821.61820
Matt JohnsonMountain View5A120670.64217
Jorge MendivilAmphi4A107860.55419
Dustin PeaceCDO4A88420.67712
Scott McKeeSahuaro4A82940.46617
Justin ArgravesCienega5A56500.52811
Glenn PoseySunnyside5A53420.55810
Robert BonillasDesert View5A35680.34011
Kevin KuhmRio Rico4A33410.4468
Joe ThomasBuena5A30510.3709
Ryan McBrayerSabino3A29100.7444
Corey NobleWalden Grove4A27100.7304
Scott CorteseFlowing Wells5A19360.3456
Brian VertreesBisbee2A18210.4624
Eric HjalmarsonWillcox2A1790.6543
Braden DavisSt. David1A16160.5004
Jake TeyecheaNogales5A6140.3003
James FitzgeraldSanta Cruz2A8120.4002
Virgil Henderson Cholla5A8240.2504
Kent MiddletonPusch Ridge3A820.8001
Eric RogersSalpointe5A710.8571
Ernie IvySan Manuel2A780.4672
James Hardy Jr.Ironwood Ridge5A580.3852
Pete DelgadoBaboquivari1A440.5002
Mike WellsPalo Verde4A480.3332
Jay DobynsTanque Verde2A3001.0001
Hunter LongDouglas4A380.2732
Brandon GilbrethValley Union1A140.2001
George KellyEmpire5A1100.0912
Jake AllenPueblo4A010.0001
Khyree CopelandRincon/University5A020.0001
Dominik BonillaTombstone2A000.0000
Greg McKinstryCatalina2A000.0000
Jake PriceSahuarita3A000.0000
Daniel SainzCatalina Foothills4A000.0000
Phillip StewardMarana5A000.0000

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! 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, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, 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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