Charlie Ragle always wanted to be a head coach. This isn’t a bad place to start.
A graduate assistant at Arizona State last season, Ragle was named Chaparral’s football coach on Wednesday, inheriting a team that has been one of Arizona’s best for the past decade.
Ragle, the Firebirds’ defensive coordinator in 2005, will succeed Ron Estabrook, who retired after 13 years and three state titles at Chaparral.
“I know what kind of shape the program was in before he took over, and he’s laid a great foundation,” Ragle said of Estabrook. “The expectation here is not just to be good, it’s to win state championships.”
“He’s the in-house guy we wanted,” Estabrook said.
When Ragle was on staff with Chaparral in 2005, the prevailing thought was that he or offensive coordinator Dave Huffine would take over when Estabrook retired.
When Ragle went to ASU, it was assumed Huffine would be the next head coach. However, a call from Huffine — a man Ragle worked with at Phoenix Moon Valley before Chaparral — quickly cleared that up.
“He came to me and said, 'If things don’t work out at ASU, I want you to come back to Chaparral and be the head coach,’” Ragle said. “He said, 'I’d rather step aside and you be the head coach. I’m happy being the offensive coordinator, and we can do this together for the next 20-plus years.’
“That’s a pretty selfless act. You just don’t find people like that in the world anymore.”
Besides Huffine, Ragle is not sure how many coaches he will retain but said he is going to “add his own flavor” to the staff. Chaparral made it to the 4A Division I semifinals last season and returns one of the state’s best players in wide receiver Mike Cummings.
Ragle plans on officially introducing himself as coach to the team today.
After that, it’s full steam ahead.