The clouds had begun to lift and a little sunshine was poking through the gloom that has hovered over the Coronado High School girls’ basketball team for way too many years.
Then, suddenly, the skies went dark again. And the Dons are back to being the Dons.
The Scottsdale school went through the 2019-20 season without a single win; their average losing margin per game was 27 points.
And now they’re looking again for a new coach, which will make it six coaching changes over the last seven seasons. It’s difficult to keep a good coach at a program that’s been down for so long. The start of Coronado’s woes stretches back a couple of decades.
The Coronado girls’ basketball teams were a dominant force in the 1990’s when they won three state championships. But the program went downhill following the departure of Coach Jim Ferrando, who had built the Dons into a powerhouse program.
Rick Sharp ran the program during the first decade of the 2000s, but his nine wins during the 2006-07 season marked his best effort. Sharp had to deal with the encroachment of new high schools that were springing up in the area, depleting the talent pool that was available to more established programs like Coronado. Add to that a diminishing lack of interest in a losing program.
And the problem has only gotten worse over the years since he left in 2012 after posting a 2-21 record.
Coronado is now riding a 29-game losing streak that stretches back to Dec. 13, 2018, when they won their last game in a 45-32 victory over Bourgade Catholic. But this latest dry spell pales by comparison to the 81-game losing streak they rode from 2011-2015. Yep, 81 games.
A tournament win over Apache Junction HS in the third game of the 2015-16 season brought that drought to an end, and that team went on to post 11 wins — a major accomplishment since the two previous seasons didn’t include a single win.
The head coach that year, Isaac Jackson, couldn’t keep up the momentum as his 2016-17 squad finished with just five wins, and the Dons were back to square one. The next year the program was turned over to Jamie Fellows, who led the team to a 13-9 record and won the Black Canyon Region title, which qualified the team for the 4A state tournament — a feat that was given near-miracle status.
It looked like the Dons were finally making some progress. But Fellows left after one season.
Dexter Brown took over for the 2018-19 season and managed just four wins. Last year, it was Samantha Weeman‘s turn to try to right the listing ship. She had to work with a roster that included just nine players, not even enough to run a practice scrimmage. And only one of those players was over 5’7″. The result was another winless record.
And then Weeman took her cue from those before her and exited stage left.
Once again, the search is on for a new coach at Coronado. Someone who wants a real challenge.