Say this for Marcos de Niza: the general public may not have heard — or ever will hear — the complete story behind football coach Roy Lopez’s eventual resignation, but it’s not stopping everyone and their uncle from applying to be the next Padres’ coach.
It’ll also be the second significant hire by a Tempe Union High School District school in the past two months after Corona del Sol brought back one of its own in Cory Nenaber from Maricopa to be the Aztecs’ new football coach.
Such recent football volatility at Corona, combined with the Marcos situation that unfolded late in the fall, begets unknowns and swirling rumors are always cause for pause when it comes to candidates throwing their proverbial hat in the ring.
But there are a wealth of reasons it’s been the premier job opening in the state so far this offseason. As noted this week by Marcos de Niza athletic director Mike Griffith, the Padres received “tremendous interest” in the position as the school goes through the process of selecting candidates it wants to interview in the next 1-2 weeks before hopefully making a hire around Jan. 21 (according to Griffith).
He’s right, obviously, given the competitive level Marcos ascended itself during the Lopez era, with little reason to believe the neighborhoods and talent level won’t remain fairly strong for the next few years.
With so few openings (so far) in the Valley, let alone the East Valley, Griffith and co. are in a pressure-packed, but advantageous position.
The school needs to make sure such dynamics which created and led to the unhappy ending of Lopez’s tenure (and heed what didn’t work at Corona del Sol the past five years in its hiring process) don’t happen again, but given the volume of quality candidates the school has likely received, this should be a difficult hire to mess up.
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune assistant managing editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 898-6576.