Sanders: Worried about players, not future - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Sanders: Worried about players, not future

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Posted: Thursday, January 5, 2012 4:43 pm | Updated: 10:34 pm, Thu Jan 5, 2012.

News of Saguaro football coach John Sanders' firing spread quickly Thursday morning, and already he's been offered several jobs, he said.

At this point, though, he's more interested in consoling his players than worrying about his future.

"That's the least of my concerns," he said. "My kids are devastated and my staff is devastated."

Sanders was fired Wednesday, and hoped to be present when his players were told of the decision on Thursday morning. However, he said principal Brian Corte made the announcement to his underclassmen football players in first hour while Sanders was still driving to school.

The team's seniors were notified of the decision via text message from their teammates.

"All of a sudden, my phone was blowing up," Sanders said. "The kids started calling and they were upset. Ryan Merrill, D.J. (Foster), Cam Larson, they were texted, ‘Coach got fired.' I fully expected for this to be announced when I was there with them."

Sanders met with the entire team in his sixth hour football class today.

"I shook their hands, but it was a really awkward, weird situation," Sanders said. "We have been through so many battles together. I might not be their coach, but I'm not bailing on these guys."

Sanders said many of the players open-enrolled at Saguaro specifically to play football in his program.

"It's not one day and over," Sanders said. "It's going to take weeks."

Sanders said he would like to continue coaching in-state because his family is here, although Auburn and UCLA have shown interest in having him join their programs.

Sanders said he has great respect for new Arizona State coach Todd Graham and would have interest in a role with the Sun Devils.

Corte was not available for comment. A spokesman for the Scottsdale Unified School District said it would send out a statement on Friday morning pertaining to the firing of Sanders.

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