Chad DeGrenier is taking his innovative passing schemes to a school more used to winning the old-fashioned way.
The Cactus Shadows coach is leaving to take over head duties at Mountain View, the state’s most dominant program of the 1990s that has slowly slid back to the rest of the pack.
The Toros never seemed like the biggest team, but would often defeat their opponents behind a second-to-none work ethic and solid grasp of fundamentals. Mountain View has often put its best players on the defensive side of the ball and prided itself on wearing down opponents.
DeGrenier said he will evaluate the offensive and defensive skill sets of his players before deciding what type of schemes to run, but the offense will almost assuredly be more pass-happy than at any other time in the school’s history.
“We probably are going to throw more than they’re used to,” DeGrenier said.
The Toros are coming off their first losing season in school history at 5-6, which cost Tom Joseph his job in November following a first-round playoff exit.
DeGrenier, a former Arena Football League quarterback who has been teaching in Cave Creek for 14 years, personally grooms his signal callers, and many have had great success. The Falcons won the 2006 4A Division II title behind the arm of Phillip Aholt, and went 11-1 in 2009 with Dillon Classen under center. Cactus Shadows went 7-4 last season.
DeGrenier told his Cactus Shadows players about his departure on Wednesday, but hasn’t met with his new Mountain View squad.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity,” DeGrenier said. “There’s great tradition there and it’s a great opportunity to coach against (5A competition). At the same time, I’m very sad to be leaving Cactus Shadows. It was really hard, seeing as I had been with some of them for four years.”
The hiring concludes a tumultuous process for Mountain View. Joseph was fired in mid-November, and athletic director Shawn Rustad originally posted the opening soon after that. After a round of interviews, the job was re-posted on Jan. 20.
DeGrenier didn’t originally apply, but did so after hearing from a friend that Mountain View was again taking applications.
“I thought, ‘What the heck? I’ll throw my hat in the ring,’ ” DeGrenier said.
DeGrenier will teach at the school. He said there will be plenty of time for the Mountain View players to learn his system and get used to the new coaching staff in time for next season.
“We’ll be ready to go,” he said.