Two Div IV programs that beat a combined 3 other schools this season. Both have second year coaches. And in both communities parents are actively debating moving their kids or looking for another coach. It is particularly bad in the SW valley because Desert Edge has turned the corner and is a viable alternative to Estrella. Buckeye is playing some great ball as well.
Estrella was awful last season as well. Wick lost to a 1-9 Santa Cruz team so I can't say they jumped off the field and distinguished themselves with any big wins.
I read the Wickenburg Sun and every week it is an excuse. Long hot bus rides. Tough opponents. Brutal schedule.
Estrella has too good of a location to be falling apart.
These are good coaching jobs with plenty of community support and consistent pipelines of talented kids available. It is sad to see two former 3A West teams fall on hard times amid coaching changes. Rich Hoyt and Norris Vaughan where are you old men when we need you?
Wickenburg certainly has a proud tradition. It's hard to pinpoint one or two things that happened to them this season. I think some of it has to do with the physical location of Wickenburg - meaning the economic aspect. Jobs, loss of jobs, growth, etc. People moving out and not moving in. That said, they didn't play like Wickenburg teams in the past, nor did they physically resemble them though. It may be a combination of the economic situation and the fact that they didn't have the horses they normally have - especially up front. Their schedule isn't terrible and they should be competitive enough to make the playoffs. I've heard that the AD - Clark is an approachable and smart guy. The type that definitely wants to win, but isn't going to fire a coach over one or two bad seasons. I think they wait a year and don't make a change this season.
Estrella is an interesting situation. Coach Early is a good coach. Other coaches will tell you that. But that job never opened up to the public. EFHS resides in the Buckeye Union District. When that job opened, it was in the beginning of the economic spiral downward. EFHS was most concerned about keeping teachers and weren't 100% certain if they were going to make changes or not. Coach Early had been on staff for quite some time and took over. They played a lot of underclassman and have a good nucleus of youth. But the offense they run doesn't fit the players at all. So that should change and perhaps bringing in some other coaches to allow Coach Early to be a HC and run the entire program is needed. The AD - Fahleson has been known to behave arrogantly and people have mixed emotions about him because of his personality. He runs a tight ship and is also the President on the AIA Executive Board. Given his personality and status - he may more concerned about who he can work with, more than what the community thinks.
I like Clark at Wick a lot. I know it doesn't seem like it at times because I have been so critical of some of the moves in Wick, but he is such a good guy. I have known him for probably 7 years and the kids love him as well.
What I will say though is Wickenburg has a district that just consistently looks lost administratively. Little stuff like poor accounting practices with Booster and AD funds that Clark almost got run four years ago for. Poor application and background procedures. And you add in the pay scale and what you have is a district in an area that is pretty expensive to live that pays next to nothing. So teachers often commute from Congress, Morristown, Whitmann or Surprise.
Foothills has other dynamics including drawing on a bunch of Rainbow Valley kids and being in the epicenter of the West Valley real estate and employment collapse.
But both have good kids and good talent. Last season, EF had far better talent than this season and was just as bad. Trejo was a stud back. Their other components were good as well including studs up front. He ran a poor system and it was poorly executed.
Coaches evaluate each other based on a lot of factors and good assistants are guys that do what they are told, understand what the HC wants to do, and work as part of a unit. A good Captain does not equate to a good General. Sometimes, a good General is a decidedly mediocre captain because he is headstrong and opinionated. That is what you look for in a head coach. Not how well they did as an assistant, but their ability to lead because ultimately, they are the CEO of the football program, not some Vice President. They deal with pissed parents, fundraising, equipment, the administration, the kids, and set the agenda. They design the schemes and tailor the program to their talent.
I believe you are right about both guys being where they are because they are well regarded as assistants and they fit the mold the school needed at the time due to budget issues, etc. The problem is that those externalities caused the schools to hire guys that as of two years in have failed to demonstrate the leadership necessary to be a head coach. Estrella has just been miserable. And if you are bad, the young talent will leave when another school is 5 miles away.
Both coaches deserve another year. But both really should understand that come the first week of November, their jobs will be evaluated and there are no acceptable excuses. .500 is expected to earn even a chance at a 4th year.
I like a lot of things about what the coaches do, but I also have a higher than normal tolerance of good people doing their best but not getting things done. I give them the benefit of the doubt. This season was so bad in Wick and last was so mediocre that both schools have to think about whether these are the guys they want leading their teams. There are so many hungry young coaches. You owe your kids doing your best to get the best coaches.
Metro said "based on what?" great question metro!!!
Nobody has enough information to rank coaches on anything more than W/L, maybe some longevity, and maybe consistency. There should be 10-20 factors that go into ranking coaches, and the most important of those factors cannot be garnered, by looking at results on a scoreboard. Some coaches have strengths and weaknesses, and the best have a 'staff" that compliment each other, where a coach may be deficient in some area, another on his staff may be strong in that area.
Coaches that have shown consistent "success" at multiple locations are doing something right. Note---my definition of "success" and most other peoples may be entirely different.
It is a leadership position and results oriented position. Your teams have to perform. You have to be respected and you have to set a solid example for the kids. But wins and losses are pretty damned important.
If you said name the top students in your high school, you could come up with all sorts of criteria. Well, Little Johnny in the Special Ed class studies so hard every night to get a C and works harder than the A students. If you said name the top doctors, you might say, well Dr. Johnson studied at Harvard. No, what matters is performance. There might be other factors that temper RAW WINS AND LOSSES, like say consistently overachieving at schools without talent or resources, but at the end of the day, unless the coach has the character of a turd, wins and losses are what make a coach. Not to say CHAMPIONSHIPS make a coach, but a good coach gets the most out of his kids, and that is not evaluated just based on one season. He gets kids to come out. He gets kids to work hard. He gets kids to buy in. He gets kids to listen. He gets kids to execute. He gets parents to buy in. He gets the community to buy in.
You could make the argument that the 3.75 student that plays four sports, is the class president, and volunteers at the old folks home is the top student. I could agree with that over a 4.0 kid that doesn't do the other pieces. But he is a 3.75 student, not a 3.0 student.
Gonzalo is sub .500 at Wick and Early has is sub .250.
And as to the top 10 coaches, that is not a fair question. Half of the coaches in 2A and 3A have left recently. Larson, Anderson, Hernandez, Vaughan, Hathcock, Semore, Hoyt, etc. The quality of 2A-3A coaching has significantly declined.
Answer--Moro, Morgan, Ricedorf. There is no top 10. I would put the coach at Florence among the better ones. And Young at Mingus. But it is grasping at straws.
The only coach you named that you have spent any amount of time with is Vaughn. In my opinion, you have and extremely limited knowledge of the other coaches, because you have never spent significant time on a field or in person with any of them. I understand society judges people on results, but there are some incredibly important factors, outside of W/L that help you win. let me give an example.
Take a John Bryant who has had incredible records at both Pima and Joseph City. Could he go to Rock Point or Cibicue and have anywhere near those records. I think the answer is obvious. Would it make John Bryant any less of a coach, that answer is obvious as well. That could be said about any of those coaches you mentioned. Look at Pima this year as opposed to last year--same coach, same kids what gives. They dropped a division and all of the sudden they are top 4 in the state at their level. The coach didn't all of the sudden get better, the kids didn't really change, but something did. I could go on and on about factors, but I read it all the time about this guy is great or that guy is great, all coming from people who have never spent 10 minutes on a field, court, matt, track or anywhere for that matter with the people they are praising. Extremely shallow IMO.
And I have never met Gonzalo, and I think I might know the Estrella coach a little bit. But I'm not going to say they are good or bad without a lot more information on either of them. Are they down on talent, I don't have a clue, have the admins withdrawn support for those programs, again, I don't have a clue. Finally and most importantly, are they getting the most out of the kids, and doing it with class, leading by example, and treating the kids well. I would love to have those questions answered as well as a hundred others, before I either threw them in the trash pile, or anointed them as coaching legends.
My bad, I wasn't aware. I guess that would make the question, would Jace Hancock and Pima been a top 4 team in D-V. Like I said, there are so many other variables regarding good coach, bad coach than "results" as related to a scoreboard.
You become a great coach over time. You do it by serving the young men. But we are not talking about assistant coaches, we are talking about head coaches. I have spent significant time on the sidelines of opposing coaches because I spent almost a decade working the chains on the visitors sideline and have gotten to see all kinds of coaches roll through.
I also speak to alumni and other folks extensively about their experiences.
Having a good season is great. Having consistent good to great seasons year in and year out indicates that you understand the game and the necessary pieces to keep the community together.
I have spoken with Ricedorff extensively and with Semore. I have spent time on Ricedorff's sideline and have several close friends that play for him. I have even more close friends that are part of the Blue Ridge program. These two are the best coaches in 3A right now based on a variety of factors, but both have their flaws as well.
Remember that coaches, by and large, don't stay at programs without talent. Either they are fired or they overachieve and find a better job. Small school ball means living in small towns and unless it really appeals to you and you have family ties to the area, most coaches look to move on from underachieving programs without parent support or talent.
Longevity and wins and losses play the single biggest part. You can say there are other factors and I agree, but I am not going to say "being a good guy" or being a "great mentor" is what coaching is about. I know plenty of good guys and every coach has his supporters and detractors. And you will note that you gain supporters when you win and you find the kids tune you out and stop showing up for offseason workouts when you lose.
The goal is to build men towards greatness. You cannot do that by losing consistently or by being unprepared as a coach. The best coaches are the most prepared and those that demand perfection and preparation from their players. They make their players work in the weightroom and lead by example. There are some downright bad communities with rampant alcoholism and poverty. But you will notice, most great coaches get out of these communities. And for good reason.
Longevity and performance. Getting the most out of your kids. And 2-8 is not getting the most out of your kids.
"and 2-8 is not getting the most out of your kids"
That is an incredibly narrow mindset, especially considering the next poster noted that one of your great coaches "Ricedorf" was 3-17 at his previous coaching stint prior to Show Low. If 2-8 is not getting the most out of your kids, and your not a good coach because your 2-8--- Well then certainly 3-17 is just as bad! So what happened, did Ricedorf automatically become a great coach by moving about 160 miles northeast, or are the other factors I speak of a lot more important to W/L than we want to admit. As I said earlier, many of these answers are obvious. Also, a couple of games on the sidelines as a chain gang member, or talking with former players, is nowhere near enough information to either call someone a great coach or likewise a poor coach. I just completely disagree with people judging a coach from a distance, never having spent any time with them, in practice every day, outside of the sport they coach, during high stress games, and on down the line. For me those opinions are based on a very limited set of criteria.
I've spent plenty of time around head coaches and assistant coaches every week for years and years. Sorry, I don't have anywhere near enough information to pass judgement on most of those men . I've also spent plenty of time coaching, I've coached teams that have not lost a game, and teams that have not won a game, and many teams in between. There is so, so much more to it than a scoreboard!!
I do agree though, just because somebody is a great guy and treats the kids well, does not automatically qualify him as a great coach--kind of like W/L doesn't qualify you either.
Ricedorff was at an inner city school and I would not argue that he was a great coach while at Trevor for a number of reasons. He has won two titles and played for a third in five years at Show Low and his teams are consistently well coached and prepared. They show up and compete and his staff makes solid adjustments. He is the only current coach in 3A to beat Paul Moro.
Now, the argument again goes--was he a great coach at Trevor? Who knows, but he was smart enough to know that within his profession, Trevor was a bad place for his career so he chose to be upwardly mobile.
Now, take Wickenburg and Estrella. These were teams that were both 9-0 when they played for the region championship just two years ago. Wick had a span where they went 47-5. Suddenly, the talent is gone from both places? Suddenly, the demographics change? Suddenly, these schools are Trevor Browne?
You expect a coach at Trevor Browne to struggle to be .500 because it is an inner city school. And Ricedorff is one of 3 coaches to win a title at Show Low, and he has won two. The other two coaches are Jeremy Hathcock who had Desert Ridge in the finals last season and Bill Morgan who won a couple more at Valley Christian. Are you making the argument that any yahoo can show up at Show Low and win a title because two other guys did? Reality is that Show Low is a good job, but because of that, they can be picky about who they hire.
So why don't you name names of who is a great coach in Div IV? Bob David and River Valley's coach Bower (I believe) are mediocre. Early is mediocre at best. Parker's coach is having a decent year, but this is in part because of playing along the River. Seton's coaching staff was .500 in 4A-II and are brand new. Young has had Mingus in multiple title games and made multiple playoff appearances. Winslow has a new staff with little track record. Holbrook, Achesay, the Rez schools all have had significant coaching turnover. Payson's coach is in his second year. Are you going to tell me that Fairfield at Fountain is a great coach? Round Valley has a brand new coach and they are D-V now. Maybe you could say Buckeye has a great coach, but his teams have not done a lot.
Asked to rank them top to bottom in D-IV:
1. Moro 2. Ricedorff 3. Young 4. Perhaps Empire or Florence's coaches
Everyone else is too new to have a track record.
Wins and Losses is the factor you judge a coach on primarily plain and simple. I see up close the way coaches run their staff and how they adjust during games working the chains. I see their organization and how the assistants operate. I see organizational factors and how they deal with the kids. I see in game adjustments and I see how teams gameplan.
Football is a chess match. A great coach has great assistants because he trains them and prepares them and they have dedicated jobs and operate as a team as well. They communicate effectively. They have a plan. Every single thing you do translates onto the field and the way I judge a coach is primarily how he does against like talented teams. When you face a team that has roughly the same talent as you do, how do you perform. That is raw coaching skill. That is the chess match. Bad coaches tend to lose close games. I think Fairfield is a perfect example of that. He tends to pucker up with a lead and go into his two TE with a Wing formation and try to grind. That is why his teams consistently get beat by equal and even lesser talented teams.
So go through and start naming names of better coaches in D-IV. Maybe I am missing someone. The four or five I listed are the cream of the crop. Everything after that are guys that might figure it out or build a track record or do something later on, but as of right now, they have not distinguished themselves.
I love your passion for the game, and I love your passion for your former school, but sometimes as you well know you generalize too much, and some of your posts are one big contradiction.
For example, you have consistently said W/L are the primary factor you judge a coach on plain and simple. We have 1 guy who goes 3-17 at a school--by "your" primary measuring stick he must have sucked. Yet in one fell swoop and 160 miles, all the sudden the guy becomes a great coach. That just makes no sense at all. I'm sure he was the same coach at Trevor that he is at Show Low--and the W/L are completely opposite. That is why judging somebody on W/L is incredibly shallow. And believe me, I know, the vast majority of folks never get past the W/L record--mind made up, written in stone--he is good or bad based on the record only--or better yet, what rests in the trophy case.
One other thing you said that concerns me, was "he was smart enough to know that within his profession, Trevor was a bad place for his career, so he chose to be upwardly mobile." Why was Trevor bad, did he not make a difference, did he not affect just as many kids, did he not get payed as well--it appears you have again assigned a trophy, a title, or a W/L record with good, and coaching at an inner city school as Bad. Sorry, I don't subscribe to that thought process, even if the rest of society does.
"so why don't you name names"
As I said earlier, I don't have enough information on most of them to form a solid opinion. I've been around Moro, Ricedorf, Young, Tenney, Little, London, Semore. But mostly on game nights, never at practice, or much outside of the game except for Little. Bell, at RV, I know extremely well, and I think he is great for those kids. Had an incredibly tough year (between injuries, and other catastrophes) but he is still 1 of 8 left, and with their talent level this year, that is tremendous.
Moro has a great staff--especially London as I think he is key. I liked Young and his Staff from Mingus but that was just 1 game. Tenney is quality both as a coach and human being, one of the best people I know. BJ Little, very smart coach and always classy, I've known him for a long time, competed against him, and worked with him-he is good for the kids in Winslow. Semore, definitely got the most out of his Talent. Ricedorf, I wasn't fond initially, but I've listened to him on Radio a number of times this year, and I like what I hear. I think he has done a great job in Show Low, and I suspect he did the best with what he had at Trevor as well.
Personally though, I only know one head Coach well enough to develop a pretty solid opinion and I'll refrain. The rest, I would need a whole lot more time on and off the field, to develop what I would consider to be an educated, fair assessment. Even then, Who says my opinion holds any water at all. Remember, I was the guy who coached a winless team a couple a year back, so what do I know.
Finally You said "What does qualify you?" You answered that a number of posts ago. Dealing with kids fairly, being honest, teaching the game, being an example both on and off the field. Also I think it is important that you coach for the kids, and not for yourself, and finally getting the most out of the available talent. That might be 0-10, or it could be 10-0.
Some other insight into Coach Ricedorf. 2 of his victories at Trevor Browne came against Kingman. In 2005 attrition, injuries, grades took the usual toll at Trevor Browne that he canceled the J.V. season. The same happened to us. The end result was a 34-24 Trevor Browne win between two glorified JV teams stiffened up by 4-5 Seniors/Juniors on each team. After the game, Coach Ricedorf spoke with us and we talked about the problem with our programs and how the kids had played their hearts out. His QB was a running back who had been changed to QB that week and he had arranged his players around in order to field a team. Both Trevor and Kingman had 20 players suited up.
In 2006 we played at Trevor Browne and he only had 17 players suited up. We showed up with 40 because we brought up the whole JV team because we were down to 10 or so on the Varsity team. Trevor beat us 55-0. At half time with the score at 35-0, Coach Ricedorf told us that he could not put in any back ups in the second half because there weren't any.
"The reason I didn't like to throw on first and ten, was because I hated second and ten." - The Legendary Ray Smith.