2024 High School Football

Victory Sports Foundation 7-on-7 & big man event showcases schools with new coaches

Sly Lewis is in the first year of his tenure at his alma mater Pueblo (Gilbert Alcaraz/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

Coaching turnover happens annually but this year is different with the changes impacting programs coming off state championships.

Canyon del Oro won the 4A state championship last year with a 12-0 record under Dustin Peace, who stepped away after the season. Peace, who also won a state championship with a 12-0 record in his first season of 2009, was replaced by longtime local coach Scott McKee.

Sabino head coach Ryan McBrayer returns after the Sabercats won their first 3A state championship in 25 years last season. A significant member of his coaching staff — offensive coordinator Sly Lewis — is not back, however, after pursuing the head coaching job at his alma mater, Pueblo.

McKee, Lewis and McBrayer are leading their programs in 7-on-7 and big man competitions this month, including this week’s Victory Sports Foundation Passing and Big Man Tournament at Kino South Fields.

McKee and Lewis join six other coaches at the event who are beginning their tenures at different schools.

The new coaches and who they replaced (including the coach at new 1A program Desert Christian and the changes at Bisbee, Catalina and Salpointe — who are not participating in the Victory Sports Foundation event):

SchoolClassFormer coachNew coach
Benson2ADustin CluffChris Rasmussen
Bisbee2AShawn HolleyCarlos Lopez
Canyon del Oro4ADustin PeaceScott McKee
Catalina 2AGreg McKinstry IIIAndy Fetsis
Catalina Foothills4ADaniel SainzGreg McKinstry III
Cholla4AVirgil HendersonPaul Tripp
Desert Christian1A(New program)Jason McKibben
Pueblo4AJake AllenSly Lewis
Rincon/University4AKhyree CopelandJohnny Chan
Rio Rico4AJeff ScurranCarlos Duran
Sahuarita4AJake PriceJake Allen
Salpointe6AEric RogersPat Ryden

Rundown of coaches leading their new programs who are participating in the Victory Sports Foundation Passing and Big Man Tournament:


New Benson coach Chris Rasmussen (Gilbert Alcaraz/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

Rasmussen hails from Reno, Nev., where he competed in high school. He played for Feather River College in Quincy, Calif., as an offensive lineman until an Achilles injury stopped his career when he was a sophomore. He was in the elevator manufacturing business for 12 years until embarking on his coaching career as a line coach at Luna Valley (Nev.) North Valleys High School. He and his famly moved to Tyler, Texas, because his wife had an internship at a hospital there. Rasmussen became the defensive line coach at Tyler Junior College. That’s when serious medical issues put a temporary halt to his coaching. He was first diagnosed with potentially having ALS because his legs were weakening among his neuropathic symptoms. Six months later, more tests revealed multifocal motor neuropathy, which involves weakness in the limbs without sensory problems. After more tests, an MRI revealed an edema in his back that was pushing on his vertebrae and pinching nerves between the lower discs in his back. After undergoing a laminectomy, he is regaining strength in his lower legs and is improving through rehabilitation. He applied for the Benson opening immediately after seeing it was available. He mentioned his family wanted to move west closer to home. The Benson community has welcomed him with open arms.


Scott McKee ready for taking on the challenge of taking over a CDO program that graduated 28 seniors from last year’s state championship team (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

McKee is somewhat new to CDO — he served as a consultant with Peace the last two seasons — but he is no stranger to Southern Arizona high school football. He is the son of legendary local coach and administrator Larry McKee, a standout lineman at Arizona from 1968-71. Scott McKee’s two previous coaching stops have been at Pueblo and Sahuaro, two challenging places to coach that struggled before his arrival. Pueblo had not advanced to the state playoffs in 13 years when he took over there in 2004. His father also coached Pueblo from 1977-79. The younger McKee coached the Warriors from 2004-08 (compiling a record of 12-40) before leaving to Sahuaro in 2009. The Cougars advanced to only one postseason in the eight years prior to his hire. He coached the program to the playoffs in five of his first six seasons. He led Sahuaro to nine postseason appearances overall. In 2018 and 2019, Sahuaro was 19-6. The Cougars advanced to the 4A state semfinals in 2018 and were the No. 1 seed in the 4A state playoffs in 2019.


McKinstry goes to Catalina Foothills after trying to get struggling Catalina off the ground. He was 5-25 in his three years at Catalina. He led the program to a 3-7 record last year — the most wins for the Trojans since 2017. He took over a program that did not have a winning season since 2007 under Shawn Wasson. He became the Trojans’ fifth head coach in the last 11 years when he was hired in 2021. McKinstry’s coaching background includes being the co-offensive coordinator at Sioux Falls (S.D. O’Gorman,, where he was an assistant coach since 2016. O’Gorman was 33-12 in his four seasons there. A former defensive back at Ohio University and Northern Iowa, McKinstry also served as an assistant at Northern Iowa from 2009-12. His high school coaching stops include Waterloo, Iowa, and Milwaukee. He worked as a behavioral specialist at a middle school in Sioux Falls before carrying on the same role at Catalina. He also worked with the Goodwill METRO Youth REC (Rescue through Engagement Center). McKinstry and this program help young adults get their lives on track through education, including assisting them to earn their GEDs. McKinstry moved to Tucson because of family in the Phoenix area and his wife’s family lives in Tucson.


Tripp speaks proudly of playing for Robert Bonillas at Desert View (Class of 2013) and Jim Monaco at Pima College before embarking on his coaching career at Valley Lutheran, where he coached his brother Daniel and the offensive lineman. Tripp was to coach at Rio Rico as an assistant coach this season but a change there made him pursue the opening at Cholla.


Lewis graduated from Pueblo in 1992 and played football for legendary Saturnino “Curly” Santa Cruz. He was an assistant coach over the last 20 years at Sabino under Jay Campos and McBrayer. Lewis served as offensive coordinator the last seven years under McBrayer, leading highly productive players such as quarterbacks A.J. Skaggs and Cameron Hackworth, running backs Andres Baca and Mason Cade and a bevvy of receivers including Michael Masunas, Diego Armijo, Isiah Aguirre, Savaughn BerryhillShamar Berryhill and Bret Roberson. Lewis understands the challenge ahead at the southside school. Former Arizona “Desert Swarm” standout Brandon Sanders coached Pueblo to winning seasons in five of his six years at the school from 2014-19. Jake Allen, the previous coach, led the Warriors to one winning season after having to coach the program following the 2020 season that was impacted by COVID-19. Before Sanders and Allen, Pueblo had 10 straight losing seasons dating to 2003. Santa Cruz’s 15-year career with the Warriors ended in 1994.


Chan joined Rincon/University last fall as a teacher and coach, moving from the Bay area, where he served as a fitness trainer and assistant high school coach. He joined his wife in moving to Tucson because his wife had an occupation here. Chan was the head trainer for almost four years at the Silver City Valley Country Club in San Jose and he was an assistant at The Harker School at Saratoga, Calif., for three seasons. He has a background in Tucson, earning his bachelor of arts in psychology at Arizona in 2019.


Carlos Duran is in his first season as Rio Rico’s head coach (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Duran has certainly paid his dues at Rio Rico, coaching at the lower levels (freshman and JV teams) the last eight seasons with Kevin Kuhm and Jeff Scurran as the varsity head coach. The Nogales High graduate knows all about the I-19 rivalry between the Apaches and Hawks and embraces it although he has to face his alma mater. He studied sport and exercise science at Cochise College in Douglas and earned a bachelor’s degree in education at Arizona.


Jake Allen addresses his team after Wednesday’s action in the Victory Sports Foundation Passing and Big Man Tournament (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Allen, who resigned his position at Pueblo after leading the Warriors for four years, takes over a program that went 3-26 in three years under previous coach Jake Price (a quality coach who has a background of coaching with legendary Matt Johnson at Ironwood Ridge along with Allen). Pueblo went 13-17 in Allen’s tenure, including a 6-4 record in 2022. Johnson coached Ironwood Ridge to the 2012 state championship with Allen, a Nighthawk alum, on his staff. Sahuarita has competed in the 4A Gila the last two seasons after previously being in the 3A South. Allen has started a slogan of “Grit” at Sahuarita, known for its state-championship caliber wrestling program.


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 in 2016 and is presently a special education teacher at Sunnyside High School in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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