Robbie Moen’s long and winding coaching odyssey after completing his Arizona baseball career almost 30 years ago has brought the Flowing Wells High School and Wildcat legend back to Southern Arizona.
He will be the athletic director and a physical education teacher at Coatimundi Middle School in Rio Rico and will join Jeff Scurran’s coaching staff this fall at Rio Rico High School as the wide receivers coach while also working with the punters and kickers.
After an 18-year background as hitting coach at Kansas State and Loyola Marymount and scout with the Tampa Bay Rays, he moved to Frisco, Texas (a suburb of Dallas) in 2016 to be close to his daughters Payton and Paige, who moved to that area with Moen’s ex-wife.
For the last six years, Moen coached softball in Frisco for the Frozen Ropes Softball Academy and at Aubrey (Texas) Braswell High School as the junior varsity coach. He also served as the hitting coach for the Russian national baseball team in 2017.
“I think baseball or softball will be in the future at Rio Rico — I don’t know if it will be this year but it will be part of the future,” Moen said.
Moen returned to Southern Arizona three weeks ago, and he and his wife Mila now reside in Green Valley.
“I’m excited to come back because there’s a lot of opportunities not just for me, but for my wife, who’s an aqua aerobics, yoga and pilates instructor,” Moen said. “There’s gonna be a lot of opportunities to carry her business from Texas down to here. She’ll have to start over with new clients, but it’s a great environment to do it in.”
Moen’s hire with Scurran reunites the two from when Scurran served as Flowing Wells’ offensive coordinator in 1987, Moen’s sophomore season with the Caballeros.
Moen completed one of the most storied high school baseball and football careers in Southern Arizona history his senior season at Flowing Wells when he was an all-state selection in both sports.
He went from being a quarterback as a freshman to a wide receiver/defensive back and punter from his sophomore year until only two games remained in his senior season when coach John Kashner used him at quarterback because of his athleticism out of the Wing T offense.
Nobody at Flowing Wells has topped his five touchdowns in a game that he achieved against Rincon/University in 1987.
“Coach Scurran asked if I could help him in his first year at Rio Rico,” Moen said of the coaching legend who has not coached locally at the high school level since 2018 while at Catalina Foothills.
“For me to make this move, especially uprooting from Texas with my wife, it had to make financial sense and Rio Rico made it happen.”
David Verdugo, whom Moen played football against while Verdugo was a standout at CDO, helped make it happen, according to Moen.
Verdugo is the superintendent of the Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District. Rio Rico is the lone high school in the district.
“David Verdugo wants me to kind of get involved and help grow the baseball and softball programs and keep our athletes at our school (Rio Rico),” Moen said. “Right now, what’s happening is that two years ago, I was told, six of the nine starters on the Nogales baseball team that made it to the state championship were supposed to be at Rio Rico.
“They go to our middle school because it’s such a good academic school and they enjoy it. And then they go to Sahuarita or they go to Nogales High School. So my job being at the middle school is to help get to know those students, develop the relationship at an early age and then let them know that, ‘Hey, these are going to be your coaches, myself included, when you get to high school,’ and hopefully that keeps them from leaving.”
Moen said he will stress to students that, “I’m not just a football guy who’s trying to help baseball and softball. I’m really a baseball and softball guy that’s helping football because that’s my background.”
“That’s what I know the most, but I can coach football; it is just a different skill set to learn,” he continued. “We need to let the kids know that, ‘Hey, I can coach and I’ll be there when you move up the ladder and get into high school. You’re gonna see the guy who’s been there with you.'”
Nearby schools such as Nogales, Sahuarita and Walden Grove will likely find it more difficult to attract students in the Rio Rico area with Moen coaching with Scurran and also leading either the softball or baseball program with the Hawks.
Moen is known for his fierce competitive nature.
“His greatest attribute was he loved to prove people wrong,” said longtime Tucson-area baseball coach Len Anderson, who coached Moen at Flowing Wells and also had stints at Pima College and CDO.
“Robbie was the baseball version of a gym rat. He was coachable and wanted to learn, but the thing I remember most about him, he was full of fire. He never took an at-bat off. You can’t say that about a lot of players.”
A member of Arizona’s All-Century Team (1900 to 1999) in baseball, Moen finished his Wildcat career second in at-bats (843) and doubles (63), third in hits (325) and total bases (465) and fifth in RBIs (185) while playing for Jerry Kindall, Jerry Stitt and Jim Wing.
Moen is also on Arizona’s Baseball Legends Plaza Wall of Fame along with former teammate George Arias, a Pueblo High School alum.
Moen and Arias played golf together on Tuesday before Moen watched the Flowing Wells Little League All-Stars (8-10) play against Tanque Verde in the District 5 tournament at Mehl Park. Moen’s former baseball teammate with the Caballeros, Dave Laguna, has a son (Dominic) who plays for Flowing Wells Little League.
“It’s been good seeing people like George, Dave, one of my best friends at Flowing Wells, Coach Stitt and Coach Wing, as well as Coach Anderson and Steve Reinhardt, my high school baseball coaches at Flowing Wells,” Moen said. “Now, I’m back with Coach Scurran in football and that will be great.
“From that aspect, it has been really good getting back and seeing a lot of friends and catching up.”
Another bonus returning to Southern Arizona for an extended period for the first time since his Wildcat career ended in 1993 is being close to his daughter Payton, who will be a senior at Arizona this school year.
“I’ll get a chance to see her a little bit more and then obviously, I’ll be here when she graduates. That’s pretty exciting,” Moen said.
Moen added that the decision to move from Frisco was “kind of nerve-wracking with anxiety involved,” because some of the ties they developed there.
“I think once we got in here, it’s helped a lot because we’ve found a place to live,” Moen said. “I’m getting a lot of paperwork done for school. I’m getting a head start on football learning the actual plays and what I’m going to be doing. When the school year starts, I won’t have all of those things to worry about.
“I can just move right into my job.”
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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.