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I sit in my office at home, surrounded by sports memorabilia. Old team pictures, signed basketballs and baseballs, a “Godfather” poster and a few stacks of game film from this past season.

A few shelves of books written by great men on coaching basketball, along with many other sports-oriented books share the space as well. It’s a normal office — the type that might belong to any coach, or sports writer for that matter.

I lean back in my chair, and ponder how to put into words my first head coaching job — my first year at the helm of the Sedona Red Rock High School boys basketball program.

Having sat in this very chair Saturday, Feb. 26, watching the 3A conference championship game online, a game I wished badly we were in, I finally got a chance to sit and think about all the great memories I have from this season.

To use a quote from the movie “Field of Dreams,” the memories were so thick, it was almost as if I needed to brush them away from my face. It was a chance to reflect on all that we as a team, as a program and as a school accomplished.

I’ve never been the sentimental type, or the guy who might cry at his own wedding, but for a moment, I must admit, I almost had trouble holding back the tears.

It seems like yesterday I sat in the office at SRRHS in April, waiting to be led into a back room where I was to be interviewed for the job.

After hearing a few days later I was their man, I went to work. The pride I felt after I found out I got the job is indescribable.

I am an SRRHS alum, and graduated in 2001 after playing basketball for the Scorpions for three years. So, to be allowed to take over the program almost 10 years later is something I will cherish forever.

Once we got into the season in November, the three weeks of preparing leading up to our first game was an interesting test for myself.

The first memory that comes to mind was almost beating Winslow High School, then-ranked No. 1 in the state by the big newspapers. We were at their tournament in early December, and were down

54-52 with 2:30 to go.

Although we eventually lost, the boys began to believe then we could have a good year. It was then that they believed in our team motto, “Scorpion Will.”

After the tournament, we returned home to host rival Williams High School. This, of course, is my favorite memory of the entire season.

We came out flat and found ourselves trailing 28-8 after the first quarter. The boys, however, were unwilling to give up, to pack it in and go home, to accept defeat. We outscored the Vikings 62-41 from that point on and a dedicated senior hit a free throw with 0.6 seconds to go, giving us a 70-69 win.

There are many other memories, such as our White Mountain Holiday Classic trip after Christmas. We got snowed in at Pinetop-Lakeside and had to stay an extra night. The boys didn’t mind. They proceeded to make s’mores over the room fireplace, all together with no basketball to play and only snow angels to make in three feet of snow and vans to dig out in the morning.

Senior night was one I’ll never forget either, when rival Mingus Union High School came to town. It was a night where the seniors were honored and it all came together in an 87-83 victory.

To look back, I would say the first thing I learned in being the head coach is it doesn’t just happen between the lines on game days.

With fans cheering, and players sweating it out on the court, I stand there barking out instructions — teaching the next generation of kids not only basketball, but the game of life and all its hard lessons.

All of the preparation, the organization — it all comes before game day — before practice and before the season even begins.

Travel itineraries, scheduling, practice plans, uniform inventory, studying game film, statistics, possible player issues off the court, not to mention trying to please everyone. It is impossible to do alone.

It’s been said it takes a village to raise a child. Well, I think the same principle applies to a basketball program. It takes a whole bunch of people to run a good basketball program. And I thank everyone that was involved.

I thank the administration at SRRHS, the fans, the Scorpion Booster Club, the scorekeepers and my assistant coach. The list could go on and on.

I would like to thank Bob Larson, the publisher of our newspapers, for his generosity in allowing me to coach these fine boys this season. It must not be easy allowing your only sports writer to coach a local team, which in turn means he can’t write about them.

With that, I’d like to thank my editor, Trista Steers, for her willingness to cover our boys and write great articles. It was an extra duty that she didn’t have to do, but chose to do out of the kindness of her own heart. I thank you for that, Trista.

In the end, I couldn’t ask for a better first season as head coach, and I hope there are many more to come. This basketball program has the potential to become great, and I hope to take it to that next level.

So as I sit here, still pondering the season, I’m sad it is over. But the thrill and excitement of a new season on the horizon will come soon and I’ll do it all over again.

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