Mesa Community College football coach Dan Dunn was named NJCAA Region 1 football coach of the year Thursday by the Western States Football League.
Dunn led a team that went from 2-7 last year to 8-3 and 6-2 in the Western States Football League this year and won the right to host the Valley of the Sun Bowl.
They will play Fort Scott Community College at Riggs Stadium on Dec. 2.
Dunn has had a storied history as a football coach in the Valley.
At 10 years at Gilbert High School during the 1970s, Dunn’s teams won 100 games and three state championships.
Dunn then spent a few years as an assistant football coach at MCC before returning to high school coaching at Payson and later as an assistant coach at Mesa Red Mountain before taking on the head coaching job at MCC in 2003.
Dunn beefed up his coaching core in 2007, including adding Mike Jacobs, who had 28 years of NCAA football coaching experience, and the team found itself at the end of the year ranked eighth in the NJCAA heading into the postseason.
Dunn was not immediately available for comment, but said two weeks ago that this was “a great team” that was “experiencing a complete turnaround.”
MCC’s Crum honored
MCC quarterback Dax Crum joined Dunn on the honors table this week as he was named co-offensive player of the year for the WSFL.
Crum, who played at Scottsdale Horizon High School, led all quarterbacks in the league with 15 touchdown passes and he threw for 2,037 yards and only four interceptions.
Crum has been in touch with Washington State and Wyoming for a possible transfer to a NCAA school for next year, MCC coach Dan Dunn said recently.
MCC loads NJCAA Region 1 honors
Six other members of the MCC football team joined Dax Crum in receiving NJCAA All-Region 1 honors.
Terrance Moore, Micah Parker, Chris Garrison, Zack Hernandez, Jamichael Hall, and James Klingensmith all were named to the NJCAA Region 1 first team on Thursday.
Jay Leal, Brice Wilkins, Cody Simpson, Brian Vaaulu, Andy Centner and Devon Cox received second-team honors.
MCC cross country shines at nationals
Sophomore Brendan McMasters, a Tempe Corona del Sol graduate, finished in 26 minutes, 4 seconds that netted MCC an 11th-place tie overall out of 40 teams in the national championships at Ina, Ill.
First-year coach Eamonn Condon said McMasters is on track to move on to a NCAA school next year.
MCC women’s runners all ran personal bests en route to a 12th-place finish out of 34 teams.
Ingrid Mollenkopf led the Thunderbirds with her 45th-place finish at 19:10.
“It is not easy to run fast at nationals, because the large number of runners makes it difficult to run unimpeded,” Condon said. “To have all seven of our girls run personal records is astounding.”
Condon said before the meet that the success during his first year at MCC (he transferred to Mesa from Gateway Community College) “made it great to show up to practice everyday”.
“This has just been a great year that was full of surprises, especially Mollenkopf,” Condon said.