The hiring carousel is always spinning during the summer, as high-school coaches come and go. But there will be some very notable absences from the prep sports landscape in Arizona when school begins again in the fall, as three high-profile figures step away from their long-held posts.
Together, they have contributed three-quarters of a century to working with high-school sports. Their names generate instant recognition.
Perhaps the biggest impact will be in track & field, where a local coaching legend has decided to close the books on 28 years as a head coach. But it’s not so much the longevity as it is the accomplishments during those almost three decades.
Dan Kuiper won 26 state titles during his 28 years as head track & field coach at Valley Christian High School, during which time he was named the national coach of the year twice and was inducted into the National High School Coaches Hall of Fame.
He also won a state title in boys cross country at the Chandler school, but it was his girls programs that received the lion’s share of attention. Kuiper’s girls’ teams won 15 consecutive state championships, beginning in 1996, to set a national record.
Kuiper is leaving the track, but not the school. Without the time demands of coaching the track & field program, he will be able to shift his focus to new responsibilities as principal.
And the sport of wrestling also lost a veteran coach when Bob Weir announced in February that he would be stepping down from the Camp Verde High School program after winning five state championships in the last 10 years. After 21 years of coaching, Weir will also begin dedicating his full attention to his role as principal at the small school in northern Arizona.
He capped off an impressive career with a 24-0 regular season and one final title when the Cowboys won the Division IV state championship this year, competing in one of the stronger fields n recent years.
Weir, who says he plans on doing some volunteer work with the program to keep him connected to the sport, leaves behind a 459-164 career record at Camp Verde.
Rounding out the departing trio is John Chambers, who was a head basketball coach and an assistant football coach at Brophy Prep. But he will be best remembered for the 24 years that the Arizona native spent as athletic director at the Catholic school in central Phoenix.
During that time, a variety of teams at the all-boys school have helped fill the school’s trophy cases with state championship hardware. The Broncos’ swim team has become one of the most dominant in the state during the Chambers era and the football team is a perennial title contender.
The Brophy campus has expanded through multiple building projects during Chambers’ quarter of a century as AD, with the latest major project, scheduled for completion in August, adding a new swimming complex to the bulging, landlocked campus at Central Ave. and Camelback Rd.
And the school didn’t have to look far to find his replacement, tapping the tennis coach, Bill Woods, to take over as the next AD.