Steve Belles, one of five finalists for the vacant Hamilton High football coaching position, wouldn’t say yes or no Monday night when asked if he had been offered the position.
He did say Saturday night while in South Bend, Ind., that if he were offered the job he would take it.
“I can’t confirm or deny that,” Belles said about the opportunity at Hamilton when reached at home Monday. “I can let you know tomorrow. How’s that?”
Another finalist, former Westwood coach Roger Suchomel, let the cat out of the bag.
“(Hamilton) called me this afternoon and they told me I didn’t get it,” Suchomel said. “I called Steve. He and I are pretty good friends. He told me they offered it to him.”
Expect Belles to officially be anointed the new Huskies coach as soon as today. Belles, who has enjoyed the most success of any coach at both schools he’s been the head man at previously — Desert Mountain and Glendale Mountain Ridge — will step into the most successful program in the state this decade.
Hamilton, under current Arizona State running backs coach John Wrenn, is 91-11 since the school opened in 1998, with a pair of state titles (2003 and 2004), two runnerup finishes (2001 and 2005) and three straight 5A titlegame appearances.
Belles, a former standout at St. Mary’s under coach Pat Farrell on the Knights’ 1984 championship team, was 20-21 in four varsity seasons at Desert Mountain, guiding what has been a struggling Wolves program to their best two seasons to date in 1998 and 1999 (8-3 and 5-5).
The last five years he’s piloted Mountain Ridge. The Mountain Lions are 47-13 in his five-year tenure there and have been a playoff team each season. Mountain Ridge reached the 5A state final in 2004, losing to Hamilton at Sun Devil Stadium, the second of the Huskies’ two state titles.
“Steve is much the same now as he was then,” Farrell said. “He is full of fire. He does a great job and does it with class. He’s started a program from the ground up, and he’s kept one that’s started going. If it is indeed true, I’m thrilled for him. He’ll do a great job.”