Every local 5A football region now has a varsity head coaching vacancy. Desert Ridge coach Vince Smith accepted the top job at Tucson High earlier this week, leaving the Fiesta Region with an opening for 2006.
‘‘It’s a good opportunity,’’ said Smith, who is returning to Tucson where he played for the University of Arizona between 1990-92. ‘‘Whether it’s a better opportunity remains to be seen. I liked Tucson when I was there. I think this will work out for the best. Maybe someone can come here (Desert Ridge) and get this going.’’
Smith, 34, spent three seasons as coach at Desert Ridge. The Jaguars were in 4A his first two seasons and 5A this past season. They were 4-27 during that span.
Mountain Pointe (Central Region), Desert Mountain (Desert Valley Region) and Westwood (East Valley Region) are searching for replacements for Karl Kiefer, John Burke and Roger Suchomel, respectively.
When Mountain Pointe athletic director Ian Moses hired Kirk Nelson to be the Pride’s girls soccer coach prior to this season, it didn’t matter to Nelson, the patriarch of Desert Vista’s girls soccer program, which began in 1997, that he was taking a job with his former team’s biggest rival.
All that mattered, Nelson said, was that he was heading to a program in which he could see himself duplicating the kind success he had with the Thunder. He did, after all, lead Desert Vista to the 5A state title in 2004, while his former assistant, Bill Bohach, led the Thunder to a second straight 5A crown last season.
"It will be a little weird being on that side of the field," said Nelson, who leads top-ranked Mountain Pointe (13-1) against his former team for the first time at 6 p.m. today at Desert Vista. "I’ll let you know (how it feels) when I walk through that gate."
After winning the title two years ago, Nelson left Desert Vista for an assistant coaching position at Washington State. Bohach, because of time commitment, also left the Thunder after winning last year’s state title and is a part-time assistant under Nelson at Mountain Pointe.
Nelson’s hopes of taking his new team to a state title may come sooner than he ever could have expected though. The Pride have lost just once — a 1-0 overtime loss to Corona del Sol Tuesday night — and have given up just five goals all season.