After several weeks of consideration, Dan Dunn has decided to resign as Mesa Community College’s football coach. Mike Jacobs, who joined the MCC staff last year, has been named interim head coach.
Dunn, who spent 20 years as a faculty member and coach at MCC, resigned after his most successful season in which the Thunderbirds won the Valley of the Sun Bowl in December and finished 9-2.
“I just decided not to do it anymore,” said Dunn, who has spent 41 years of coaching, including stints at Gilbert High School, Payson, Mesa Red Mountain, and MCC. “My whole career, the whole time, the kids and parents have made it a wonderful experience for me. I just felt like it was a great time for me to leave.”
Dunn won 100 games and three state titles while at Gilbert.
He said he did not have any immediate plans for life after coaching, except to find “something nice and easy, and something relaxing”.
Although he has stepped down as coach, Dunn said he will not immediately be disassociated with Thunderbird football.
He is working with the sophomores at the college to help get them into four-year schools — for football and/or to further their education. Dunn also will remain as a full-time mathematics teacher at MCC.
Dunn said the 47-31 win over Fort Scott Community College in the Valley of the Sun Bowl was a great way to end his career.
“When things like that happen, the hard times get erased,” he said. “Junior college football is an interesting animal. One year you’re up, one year you’re down. You’re kind of at the mercy of situations such as losing kids who go on to play for a four-year institution, go on a mission, or quit football altogether and do something else with their lives.”
Dunn said this year’s team was special.
“This year was outstanding,” he said. “We had kids who contributed at the school and were good students across the board.”
Dunn said he will miss the relationship with athletes and the coaches.
“It’s great to see kids come in and make something good out of themselves, and in time be successful,” he said. “That’s a big positive.”
Dunn’s departure does not leave the team without experience. Jacobs coached at Ohio State and Oklahoma State and has been a part of 13 bowl games over the course of his career. He was a part of Ohio State’s staff when the Buckeyes were ranked second in the nation and defeated Arizona State 20-17 in the 1997 Rose Bowl.