After sifting through 30 résumés and conducting 10 interviews, Phoenix Arcadia took the same route it took last time when hiring a football coach, tapping into the staff at Scottsdale Chaparral.
Jim Ellison, the Firebirds’ running backs coach this past season, was hired Thursday as the replacement for Jim Bevell, who was fired in December.
The 47-year-old father of five takes over a program which went 6-5 last season, has made the state playoffs in four of the past five years and was 52-34 in eight seasons under Bevell.
“(I’ve wanted to be a head coach) my whole life,” Ellison said.
“I feel confident (in this program). I think a lot of pieces are in place.”
Ellison got his coaching start at the high school level in 1995 when he joined the staff at Chaparral. He helped lead the Firebirds to state titles in 1999, 2000 and 2002 and also led the JV team to four undefeated seasons.
He then moved on to Phoenix Pinnacle where he was the offensive coordinator from 2003-06 before returning to Chaparral this past season.
“He’s going to make Arcadia not only a better program in terms of a football program, but he’s going to make it a better school because of the impact he has on kids,” Chaparral coach Charlie Ragle said.
“He’s very meticulous and very detail-oriented.”
Ellison has been a physical education teacher at Supai Middle School in Scottsdale for the past four years, and it has not been determined whether he will stay there or teach at Arcadia this fall.
“We felt that Jim was our best candidate for a lot of factors,” Arcadia athletic director Jason Foster said. “He’s very positive, had a good résumé and has been a part of some winning programs. … Also, he happens to teach in our district, which is always a plus. He lives in the community. He seems to just be a perfect fit for us.”
Ellison said he will wait until learning more about his players before determining the type of offense or defense he will run but added, “We’re going to be aggressive on both sides of the ball. We’re going to be an up-tempo offense, and we want to be a dictating type of defense.”