Mountain Ridge Head Coach Honored With 24-7Football's Coach Of The Year Award


"> Mountain Ridge Head Coach Honored With 24-7Football's Coach Of The Year Award



2004 Arizona High School Coach Of The Year

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As the 2004 Arizona High School football season went on, several coaches made a case to be named the 2004 Arizona Coach of the year.  Many coaches stood out this season making this decision very tough.  When all the dust cleared and all of our votes were counted Coach Steve Belles of Mountain Ridge High School was the winner of our 2004 Coach of the Year award.


Mountain Ridge started the season in most publications (including 24-7) as a top 5 team, who could make a run at a state title.  However, Mountain Ridge stumbled out of the gates losing their first game of the season 21-27 to Brophy.  Everyone thought, to Brophy?  Well that loss doesn't sound as bad as it did way back when, considering that Brophy had an 11-2 season of their own.  Week two, Ridge loses again this time to Desert Vista 21-28, everyone's question is what's going on at the Ridge.  Week 3, a 13-27 loss to Chandler, Chandler?  Once again Chandler proved to be a very formidable team after all.  After a 20 point win over Westview, Mt. Ridge loses to Paradise Valley by 10 and the season looks to be over.  At the half way point in the season Mt. Ridge came out of the gates at 1-4 and lost the services of preseason all-staters in Tim Ham and Nick Covey.  Season done right?  Wrong?


Over the next 8 weeks there was not a better team in the state of Arizona than the Mountain Lions.  After moving wide out Austin Martin to quarterback and the emergence of running back Nick Bell things begin to click and the Mountain Lions went off.  Beating Goldwater, Trevor Browne, Alhambra, Deer Valley, Maryvale, Paradise Valley, Mountain View and Brophy in consecutive weeks to not only get into the playoffs but to play at ASU for the title. 


Simply put, that's great coaching.  Let's remember a few things, we are talking about coaching high school kids, starting out 1-4, the natural thing that kids nowadays want to do is quit.  There was no quit in these kids, but they had to believe in something and hold on to something to give them hope.  What they held onto was Coach Belles. 


Coaching is a thankless profession and a profession that never gives you the credit you deserve.  Heck, according to some, when a team loses it's because the coach didn't do something right, but if a team wins it's because the kids played their tail off.  Great coaches always look to do what's right for the kids not just in the game of football but for their life.  Great coaches know that the lessons players learn in the game of football will greatly influence what their young men do in the future as adults.  Great coaches understand that they have to set the example for their players and they have to do it for less than minimum wage.


Coach Belles congratulations on a great season, you and your coaching staff truly did a great job this year, overcoming adversity and any obstacle that was thrown in front of your team.  The lesson you and your staff were able to teach; in no matter what situation you're faced with you don't quit, will be remembered by your young men for the rest of their lives.


Lastly, hats off to all the great coaches we have in the state of Arizona.  We know you don't do it for the money.  We understand this is a "thankless" profession.  Someone one has not coached will ever understand that feeling you get when you win or that feeling you get when you have a former player show up at school just to tell you that because of you help they turned out okay. 


We at, give all coaches in the state of Arizona a standing ovation for a job well done.  Here's looking toward 2005, because we know you already are.


Finalists (in no particular order)


Larry Fetkenhier- Cactus

Stuart Goldstein- North

John Wrenn- Mt Ridge

Roger Britson- Moon Valley

Jeff Kearin- Brophy

Preston Jones- Highland

Mike Reardon- Saguaro

Richard Taylor- Centennial

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