Corona del Sol fired the first shot in this offseason’s football coaching carousel when the school hired former Mountain View coach Tom Joseph on Thursday.
The hiring is contingent on Tempe Union High School District board approval at its Jan. 5 meeting. After that, he can meet with parents and students.
Joseph, 52, was fired from Mountain View last month after a 5-6 record in 2010 that concluded with an overtime loss in the first round of the 5A Division I playoffs to Desert Vista. It was the first losing season in the program’s history.
In his nine seasons at Mountain View, Joseph won a state title in 2002, made three championship game appearances, won six region titles and finished with a record of 92-23 (.800).
Before that, he was the coach at Marcos de Niza, also in the Tempe Union High School District, from 1996-2001, and at Class 2A Superior from 1992-1995. Joseph has a career record of 159-62 (.719).
He’ll be the second coach in the last nine months at Corona and fourth in the school’s 33-year history.
“I’ve always tried to do things the right way, outwork people and outplay them as a team, and keep people off-balance,” Joseph said. “We’re going to work hard and compete in our sectional. We can get it done with the right attitude.”
Attitude is just one of many undertakings Joseph will attempt to adjust in the coming months.
Joseph replaces Zane Zamenski, who was relieved of his duties as coach in early November after just one year at Corona. He was investigated two separate times during his tenure on allegations of inappropriate conduct, making lewd comments toward players and having a player practice despite not being cleared by the medical staff after suffering a concussion.
Zamenski replaced Gary Venturo, who retired after the 2009 season.
Corona athletic director Dan Nero said Joseph has a great track record. “We know his record’s been dang good wherever he’s been. Talking to people at Marcos and a few from the Mesa district, we’re talking about a better gentleman.”
Since Zamenski is still a teacher at Corona, no teaching opening is immediately available for Joseph, who will likely teach at Mountain View for the rest of the school year. He said he’ll try and commute a couple times a week while still teaching at Mountain View.
Joseph will begin formulating a staff in the coming weeks that could include a couple assistants from inside Corona’s walls.
“Do I think it’s going to be a process or take awhile? No,” he said of returning the program to its successful past. “I don’t have that attitude about anything. We have to get going and be ready. It’s what we do in the nine months of offseason, but I think if we do the right things we can be competitive right away. But it’s going to take a lot of work.”
A playoff team for most of the 23 years under Venturo, the Aztecs bottomed out at 1-10 last season, but they believe Joseph can push them on the way back up.
“It’s going to be a process, but we won’t shortchange ourselves or bump our head on expectations being too low,” Nero said. “I don’t expect our expectations to not be met and we’re going to do right by the kids and community. It’s going to be a chore but none of us signed up for something easy, that’s for darn sure.”