Tucson High pegs Zachary Neveleff to be football program’s new head coach

Bijan Robinson holding his 2019 Ed Doherty Award standing by Zachary Neveleff, who has served as the running backs coach at Salpointe under Dennis Bene and Eric Rogers (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Former Salpointe fullback Zachary Neveleff, a part the Lancers’ coaching staff as the running backs coach in recent years, will be the Tucson Badgers’ new football coach in the fall pending TUSD board approval, according to multiple sources.

Neveleff, a Class of 2010 graduate at Salpointe, has helped develop a long list of highly productive running backs under head coaches Dennis Bene and Eric Rogers with the Lancers.

They include one of the state’s top running backs historically Bijan Robinson and productive rushers such as Mario Padilla, David Cordero, Anthony Wilhite, Elias Bettis Roberts and Dailan Goodman.

Neveleff has also been involved with the rugby community in Tucson and has coached the Salpointe Rugby Club.

He is young at 29 years old and relates well to the players and the youth football standouts who are progressing to the high school level.

He coached the freshman team at Tucson High right after graduating from Salpointe.

The Badgers are coming off a 3-7 season under interim coach Malcolm Nelson, a former Tucson Sugar Skulls assistant coach. Nelson replaced Richard Sanchez, who coached Sunnyside to two state championships, when Sanchez resigned a month before the 2022 season after coaching the program for a season.

Sanchez later was on the Mica Mountain coaching staff as the offensive line coach.

Tucson will be part of the newly-aligned 5A Sonoran region in 2023 along with Flowing Wells, Ironwood Ridge, Maricopa, Marana Mountain View and Nogales.


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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