Year That Was 2021

Year That Was: February’s Top Five Developments in Southern Arizona



It was announced Feb. 23 that the Arizona Bowl in conjunction with organizers Paul Cunningham, a Tucson city councilman, and former coach Jeff Scurran have put the wheels in motion for the Southern Arizona High School Football All-Star Showcase game to be played in June. When the high school football season was cut short for local public schools in December 2020, talk started to surface about the seniors getting one last chance to play before the school year ended. Those seniors got that chance. The game, featuring close to 100 seniors from Southern Arizona high schools, was scheduled to be held at Tucson High School after a week of practices. The head coaches were legendary Dennis Bene, who won a state title at Salpointe, and Nemer Hassey, who built Cienega into a winning program.


Arizona graphic of Tedy Bruschi

Former Arizona standout and College Football Hall of Famer Tedy Bruschi was named the program’s Senior Advisor to head coach Jedd Fisch on Feb. 1. As Senior Advisor to the Head Football Coach, Bruschi was slated to serve as a member of the executive football management team while serving as a consultant with the entire football staff. He was to also assist Fisch in alumni relations, fundraising, social justice initiatives and student-athlete development off the field. “I am very excited to re-establish my connection to the Arizona Football program,” Bruschi said in a release. “Coach Fisch, and his vision for the program, is the main reason for my new level of involvement. I look forward to assisting Coach Fisch and the program in any way I can as we develop the next generations of Wildcats who are purposeful, resilient, and original. Bear Down!”


Ernie McCray and Al Fleming

Arizona announced on Feb. 12 that the late Al Fleming, a member of Snowden’s first recruiting class in 1972 — the Kiddie Korps — and Tucson High great Ernie McCray, who set the school’s scoring record of 46 points in a 1960 game at Bear Down Gym, were going to be inducted into the Ring of Honor at halftime of the Feb. 27 game in the McKale Center against Washington. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place, the induction was a virtual ceremony. The families of both inductees are to be invited to the McKale Center for a formal in-person induction ceremony at a later date.


Sean Miller (Arizona Athletics photo)

Sean Miller, the 13th head coach in Arizona’s history who was let go after the season, became the third to achieve 300 victories at the school. Arizona upset No. 17 USC 81-72 on Feb. 20 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles to give Miller his milestone victory. The Wildcats won for the first time since 2017 in Los Angeles against USC. His record at Arizona in his 12th season was 300-108 after the victory. “I’m just really excited for our team and coaching staff,” he said downplaying the 300-win mark. “It hasn’t been easy, nothing’s been easy. We’ve been in really tough games in which I thought we’ve played hard and played well.”


(Arizona graphic)

With four team and individual championships won in their previous two tournaments, Arizona’s men’s golf team earned a rank of No. 1 by on Feb. 24. It was the first top ranking for Arizona in Jim Anderson’s nine years as head coach. Leading the Wildcats was senior Trevor Werbylo, a graduate of Salpointe Catholic High School. Werbylo finished tied for first place in The Prestige Tournament earlier in February.

NEXT: A look at the top five developments of March 2021

CLICK ON THIS LINK to access a complete rundown of the top developments of February 2021 in Southern Arizona

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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. 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

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