Javier Morales contributed to this story.
Former University of Arizona standout Jay Dobyns added two former Wildcat alums to his coaching staff at Tanque Verde High School.
Chris Lopez played for the Wildcats from 1991 to 1994 and he was a starting linebacker in his senior season. He was part of the famed “Desert Swarm” defense. In addition, Scooter Sprotte was the Ed Doherty Player of the Year in high school when he rushed for 2,961 yards at Blue Ridge in 1994. Sprotte started out as a tailback at Arizona but he transitioned to a starting spot on the linebacking crew in 1998.
Lopez helped defeat Miami in the Fiesta Bowl and Sprotte was part of the 12-1 squad that beat Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. According to Dobyns, Lopez will help out with the offensive and defensive linemen and Sprotte will work with the running backs and linebackers.
“Our 2021 coaching staff additions of Chris Lopez and Scooter Sprotte made us better the moment they stepped on campus,” Dobyns mentioned. “Both performed at high levels, and in critical roles, during Arizona’s Desert Swarm defense era. They bring us knowledge and experience, but maybe most importantly, they bring toughness.
“Chris and Scooter were both recognized for their aggressive and passionate styles of play. They are translating that to our players. As the 1994 Ed Doherty Player of the Year award winner, Scooter is an inspiration of the greatness that a player from a small school can achieve.”
Tanque Verde’s staff:
- Jay Dobyns, head coach, offensive coordinator.
- John Williams, associate head coach, defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach.
- Rocco Bene, linebackers and special teams coach.
- Chris Lopez, defensive line coach.
- Jay Williams, defensive quality control coach.
- Van Brandon, defensive quality control coach.
- Jeff Kiewel, offensive line coach.
- Jack Dobyns, wide receivers coach.
- Matt Vinson, quarterbacks coach and strength and conditioning coach.
- Scooter Sprotte, running backs coach.
- David Adams, offensive quality control coach.
- Bob Vielledent, staff consultant.
Dobyns, Lopez, Brandon, Kiewel, Sprotte and Adams are all former Arizona football players.
“We also will return Rocco Bene who had to step away in 2020 for covid concerns,” Dobyns stated. “Rocco was Dennis Bene’s right-hand man for 19 years of unmatched achievement at Salpointe. Rocco knows nothing other than winning.
“Our program is built on relationships and respect. The chemistry between our staff and players is ideal. A coach’s job is to teach and demand. A player’s job is to prepare and perform. For all of us in the Tanque Verde Football Program it is 100 percent about the players, 100 percent of the time. We have amazing kids who have built a real commitment to hard work. They have embraced a winner’s lifestyle. In 2020, we offered a very brief glimpse of success. Our challenge in 2021 is to continue that and work to improve on it.”
Dobyns coached the Hawks to a 3-0 season last year, cut short by COVID-19 concerns. The Hawks broke a 15-game losing streak and it was the best start in program history with all three victories coming against upper division opponents. Tanque Verde will once again be in the 2A Rillito Region along with Eloy Santa Cruz (the 2A champs from last season), Catalina, Santa Rita and Mesa Sequoia Charter.
Excited to announce 2 new additions to our football coaching staff: Chris Lopez and Scooter Sprotte. Both were key players on the U. of Arizona’s famed ‘Desert Swarm’ defense. Chris will assist with DLs/OLs, Scooter with RBs/LBs. TV football just got better. #UnfinishedBusiness pic.twitter.com/lA5kaJuHeb
— Tanque Verde Hawks Football (@HawksVerde) April 20, 2021
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 email@example.com