The sports world is by no means immune to the dire economic straits facing Tucson and the rest of the country.
At least a dozen people directly involved in varsity athletics were among the 605 employees put on notice Tuesday by the Tucson Unified School District that they could be laid off for the coming school year.
While TUSD does not require employment in the district to coach, Tuesday’s news could change the look of several area teams next year.
“Coaching stipends aren’t what these people are making a living off of,” said Tucson High Athletic Director Gary Lewis, who was not given a pink slip. “But if by chance a coach is on that list and has to go find employment elsewhere, that new job might not allow them to remain as coach.”
The most recognizable name on the list, but certainly no more or less important than any other, is Santa Rita football coach Jeff Scurran, who was a guidance counselor the past two seasons at the East Side high school.
“For right now, I just need to wait and see,” Scurran said Wednesday from the airport, where he was about to leave for a trip to Germany. “Just wait and see and take care of the players. We need to make sure they aren’t hurt by all this.”
Scurran, who in two years at Santa Rita has turned an 0-10 team into one that went 23-4 and got to the Class 4A Division II championship in December, said he is hopeful many employees will be asked back.
In 2008, TUSD issued just 40 such notices, but all were eventually called back to work.
Among those with varsity sports ties that appeared on the list of possible TUSD layoffs:
• Katie Angel, Cholla girls cross country coach
• Pete Farjado, Sahuaro boys basketball coach
• Selina Heald, Palo Verde softball coach
• Ian Kidd, Rincon/University girls soccer coach
• Steven Korzan, Santa Rita girls tennis coach
• Kate Knochel, Catalina girls cross country coach
• Larry McKee, Palo Verde (administration)
• Joni Pabst, Sahuaro (administration)
• Paul Reed, Tucson High girls basketball coach
• Jeff Scurran, Santa Rita football coach
• Jayne Song-Gin, Rincon (administration)
• Michael Wylie, Pueblo boys soccer coach
Football coaching carousel
The high school football coaching carousel continues to spin.
Trevor Highfield, hired in February to replace John Necas as the Douglas High football coach, “has resigned his position because of extenuating circumstances,” according to Douglas Athletic Director Randy Walker.
The again-vacant coaching position is being advertised on the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Web site.
With the recent hire of Michael Chadwick at Pueblo, that means there are still three big-school football coaching openings in southern Arizona – Marana, Ironwood Ridge and Douglas.
Ironwood Ridge has finished interviews and hopes to have a hire approved with in a couple weeks. Marana will first try to sort through budget and staffing issues before focusing on its hire.
Coaching changes for 4A and 5A schools in southern Arizona since the 2008 season ended:
Canyon del Oro: Out – Pat Nugent (now head coach at Pima Community College); In – Dusty Peace
Douglas: Out – John Necas (resigned); In – Trevor Highfield; Out – Trevor Highfield (resigned); In – TBD.
Ironwood Ridge: Out – Gary Minor (resigned); In – TBD
Marana: Out – Willie Dudley (resigned); In – TBD
Pueblo: Out – Scott McKee (now head coach at Sahuaro); In – Michael Chadwick
Rincon/University: Out – Pat Ryden (now defensive coordinator at Pima CC); In – Nate Gahn
Sahuaro: Out – Chuck McCollom (resigned); In – Scott McKee
Sahuaro softball star Hanna Parrish has signed a national letter of intent to play collegiately at Drexel University Philadelphia.
Her scholarship will cover 96 percent of her expenses, a rarity for softball players.
Parrish, a four-year varsity letter winner whose .516 batting average leads the Cougars, also has a 3.5 grade point average and has performed in Advanced Drama courses at the school for three years.
Palo Verde girls basketball star Amber Cordova, fresh off making the Tucson Citizen’s First-Team All-Southern Arizona girls basketball team, has decided to join the rejuvenated Pima Community College women’s team.
She has already signed signed to play next year at Pima, according to Palo Verde head coach Eric Brock.
Daniel Boice honored
Desert Christian junior guard Daniel Boice has been awarded a $5,000 Qwest Leadership Challenge scholarship for his volunteer work in the community.
He was one of two Arizona students honored before the April 1 Phoenix Suns/Houston Rockets NBA game in Phoenix and met with Suns guard Leandro Barbosa after the game.
For more on high school sports, check out the Grammer School sports blog.