Former Douglas lineman John Necas, who signed with USC, later coached Bulldogs, passes away

John Necas when he was a head coach at Douglas from 2003 to 2008 (photo by Bruce Whetten/Herald-Review)

Former Douglas lineman John Necas, a Class of 1987 graduate who signed with USC and later coached the Bulldogs, has passed away at age 53.

The cause of death has not been disclosed. Those close to him have indicated his passing was unexpected.

Necas was a 6-foot-6 and 290-pound offensive tackle who signed with Larry Smith in Smith’s first year at USC after he coached at Arizona for seven years.

Necas never had the opportunity to play for USC after being at the Los Angeles school for two years. He concluded his college career at Missouri Western State.

He returned to Douglas after attending college and served on Ron Ellsworth’s staff with the Bulldogs.

He was head coach at his alma mater from 2003 to 2008.

“Super nice guy,” mentioned former Douglas coach James Fitzgerald, who had Necas on his staff in 2018 when the Bulldogs had an 8-2 record. “Not many guys would come back to coach as an assistant after resigning years before, but he really believed in me and our kids.”

Douglas coach Hunter Long was a sophomore with the Bulldogs in Necas’ last year as head coach. Necas was an offensive line coach for his successor, Dick Keith, when Long was a junior and senior.

“Definitely a sad day down here for Douglas Athletics,” Long mentioned. “He was highly respected down here for his knowledge of the game and playing experience having gone to USC after playing here in Douglas.

“All those that worked with him have nothing but great stories of their time with him. … He will be greatly missed by all those he impacted through his coaching, teaching and just by being a friend. He was a tower of a man with a big heart for all those close to him. We have all his family and friends in our thoughts and prayers as they go through this hard time. Douglas sure lost a good one today.”

Del Arvayo, left, with John Necas and a Class of 1987 classmate at Douglas (Arvayo photo)

Del Arvayo, the chief operations officer of the Arizona Bowl, graduated from Douglas with Necas.

They lived one block from another in Douglas growing up and started playing football together when they were 6.

“John loved his friends and family,” Arvayo said. “Great guy, always laughing and positive. Big guy. Big heart.”

Necas was teaching physical education at Huber Middle School in Douglas. In recent years, he has coached within the youth football program in Douglas.

Funeral arrangements are pending.


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.

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