Andy Litten’s football roots are in Southern Arizona and that background has helped him become one of the top coaching sensations in the Phoenix area and the state.
Litten has coached Scottsdale Horizon (11-2) to its first state championship appearance since 1995 as the No. 1 seed of the 5A state tournament in his first season with the Huskies.
Horizon will face No. 2 Salpointe Catholic (11-2) at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe on Friday night at 8 in the championship game.
Litten was an offensive lineman with Marana Mountain View and at Arizona as a walk-on at the turn of the century. He played for Wayne Jones at Mountain View and Dick Tomey at Arizona, both of whom have left a lasting mark on how he coaches and relates to players.
His coaching contemporaries include Pusch Ridge coach Kent Middleton and many of Middleton’s staff members who have a background coaching with Litten and serving as mentors, such as Gary Minor and Brent Bartz.
He has coached with new Sahuarita coach Jake Price while he was the head coach at Marana. He also brought in Minor to help him at Marana as a defensive coordinator.
Litten also keeps in close contact with Mountain View coach Matt Johnson, whom he also considers a mentor.
Litten took over a Marana program in 2012 that won four games in four years and had a 14-game losing streak at the time of his hire. He coached the Tigers to back-to-back 9-3 seasons in 2016 and 2017. A postseason win over Kellis in 2016 was Marana’s first playoff win in 15 years.
While at Marana, he developed the Tigers into one of the top offenses in the state. His development of quarterback Trenton Bourguet enabled Bourguet to become a preferred walk-on at Arizona State. Bourguet has since played under scholarship the last two seasons.
As a junior in 2017 — Litten’s last season with Marana — Bourguet completed 144 passes in 233 attempts (61.8 percent) for 2,984 yards with 38 touchdowns with 11 interceptions.
An interesting twist in Friday’s game is Salpointe is quarterbacked by Trenton’s brother Treyson, a senior who has established himself as a Division I prospect.
Litten, who earned a bachelor’s degree in history at Arizona in 2004, moved to Chandler in 2018 after his wife accepted a nursing position in the Phoenix area.
He was the offensive coordinator at powerhouse Chandler Hamilton for two seasons before becoming the head coach at Horizon in January.
Litten’s defensive coordinator at Horizon is Tucsonan Cam Wierson, who served as offensive analyst and wide receivers coach at Hamilton the last two years with Litten. Wierson is an Ironwood Ridge grad who played at Pima College in 2007 before ending his college career at Northwest Missouri State.
He was Kingman’s head coach for three years after six years as an assistant at UTEP, Angelo State and Missouri Valley State.
FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER!
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. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District