Scott McKee has nothing but love, respect and gratitude for the Pueblo High School football program.
Still, it was impossible not to hear the excitement in the voice of the 30-year-old former University of Arizona player and ex-Sabino star Monday when talking about being the newest football coach of the once-proud Sahuaro Cougars.
“I’m going to do everything I can to bring this program back to where it was in the 1990s,” said McKee, who replaces Chuck McCollum, who resigned after going 30-52 in eight seasons at Sahuaro.
Sahuaro played in the postseason 17 of 18 years from 1983 to 2000 under coaches Howard Breinig, Will Kreamer and Nemer Hassey, including a state championship in 1994 under Breinig.
Since Hassey left to start the Cienega program after the 2000 season, Sahuaro has made just one postseason appearance.
McKee, who was 12-39 in five years at Pueblo, isn’t going to win over the Sahuaro faithful with his win-loss record. But the Tucson football community speaks highly of the coaching potential of the son of former UA player and high school coach Larry McKee.
“I’ve been fortunate to learn something from every coach I’ve ever played for,” said McKee, who played for Jeff Scurran at Sabino and both Dick Tomey and John Mackovic at UA.
“I know we won’t get this done without a great staff and we’re going to get the best guys we can in here to coach these kids.”
Gahn new coach at Rincon
Rincon/University has promoted assistant coach Nate Gahn to head football coach.
Gahn replaces Pat Ryden, who left after a 6-14 record in two years to accept a defensive coordinator position at Pima Community College.
“I’m excited about what we can build on,” said Gahn, a special education teacher at Rincon. “I would not have taken the job if it wasn’t for the foundation (Ryden) left.”
Gahn was a two-year assistant under Ryden after serving as offensive coordinator at Prescott High, where he was a star running back in the 1990s.
Gahn said he plans to run a “modernized version” of the Wing-T offense.
His strategy on the other side of the ball will be determined once he finds a defensive coordinator.
Among the priorities for Gahn is to continue building up the programs numbers, which means convincing more University High students to play.
Rincon would be a Class 4A school based on enrollment, but participates at the 5A level because of the inclusion of University High’s students.