Jason Mohns and the Saguaro football players learned simultaneously on Wednesday that he would be taking over the football program.
Principal Brian Corte, assistant principal Nathan Slater and athletic director Bob LaRue made the announcement during the Sabercats' sixth-hour football class.
The reaction from his players was one Mohns won't soon forget.
"They mobbed me," Mohns said. "It was almost like winning a championship."
Mohns, the school's offensive coordinator, will replace John Sanders, who was fired in early January despite leading the team to four state championships in five years.
Mohns was named a finalist earlier in the day and then was delivered the good news.
"It's nice to have some continuity," Saguaro athletic director Bob LaRue said. "We trust that Jason will do a good job."
Mohns replaced Matt Lewis as offensive coordinator last season after Lewis took the head coaching job at McClintock.
The pair worked on the Saguaro staff together for four years and Lewis believes Saguaro made the right decision.
"I think he's a perfect hire for that school at this time," Lewis said. "The kids have already bought in. It's a job where he has the tools to grow with it. I think he will far exceed anything that's been done there."
Mohns joined the Sabercats coaching staff in 2007 on the freshman level and was running backs coach on varsity in 2010. He has previous head coaching experience at Salt River.
He said more than 70 players submitted a petition in favor of his hiring to Corte during the interview process.
Mohns coached nearly all of the current upperclassmen at the freshman level.
"I've built some great relationships at Saguaro," Mohns said. "It's become part of my family."
Mohns was promoted to offensive coordinator by Sanders after Lewis left, and said he remains grateful to the team's former coach for his guidance.
"He was grooming me to be the next coach, and I think it happened sooner than I think both of us imagined," Mohns said.
Mohns wasn't an on-campus teacher in previous years, but has been a substitute this season and was given positive reviews by several faculty members, LaRue said.
"Seeing him interact with students, teachers and the support staff, that played a big role," LaRue said.
The Sabercats lose Tribune Player of the Year D.J. Foster from this year's title-winning team, but do return junior-to-be quarterback Luke Rubenzer and sophomore-to-be wide receiver Christian Kirk, who Mohns believes can make an impact similar to Foster.
Krik already has scholarship offers from UCLA and Arizona State.
Mohns turned down an opportunity to be a graduate assistant at UCLA to stay in the running for the Saguaro coaching job.
Sanders went 62-7 in his five years at the helm. The Sabercats also won a state championship the year before he took over.
"We have a recipe for success at Saguaro," Mohns said. "There’s going to be a new cook but the ingredients don’t change. We know what it takes."