Nine years is a long time to be rooted in one coaching job. So maybe it’s a good thing that Tom Joseph has found a new coaching gig.
Joe Paterno, who just finished his 45th season at Penn State, might not agree. But we’re talking about high school football here.
Joseph, who was let go at the end of this season after nine years at Mountain View High School in Mesa, has landed back in Tempe, where he coached earlier in his career at Tempe Union and Marcos de Niza high schools.
His hire as the new head coach at Corona del Sol High School was announced Thursday.
In commenting on his new position, Joseph admitted he’s looking forward to a “fresh start” and was happy to be back in Tempe again.
And the same can be said about the Mountain View program, where undercurrents of parent dissatisfaction can be put to rest and a new coach can bring renewed vitality to a team that went 5-6 this year – the first losing season in the history of the program.
Joseph won a state title in 2002 but hasn’t been back to the championship game in four years. This year he struggled with less talent than he has enjoyed in years past. But at Mountain View, that’s not considered an excuse for not winning.
So, maybe starting over will be good for both coach and school.
The 52-year-old will step into a hot spot at Corona, taking over after Zane Zamenski was fired after just one season amid allegations of inappropriate conduct toward his players.
High school coaches come and go, but Joseph’s hire at Corona is significant. It took a proven winner off the coaching carousel and sent a message that the Aztecs are serious about getting back to the many playoff appearances they enjoyed under the 23-year reign of Gary Venturo, who retired in 2009.
The program went 1-10 last season under Zamenski.
Joseph will likely be just the person the program needs to begin the climb back to respectability. While at Mountain View his teams won six region titles, played in three state championship games, and won the state title.
His .800 win percentage while coaching the Toros puts him among the elite of Arizona high school coaches.
Joseph can’t begin assembling a staff and meeting parents and players until after the district school board approves the appointment at its Jan. 5 meeting.
But that should be a rubber-stamp function.
The board should be happy to get one of the more quality people in his profession, someone who will be good for the kids and the community.
The winning will just be icing on the cake.
(Photo: SportZine Magazine/Ken Matthews)