Cactus Shadows football coach Chad DeGrenier is leaving to take over the program at Fort Collins (Colo.) Fossil Ridge High next year.
It is a 5A program, one similar in size to Chaparral, so DeGrenier sees it as a step up. His ultimate goal is to coach at the collegiate level.
He built up the Cactus Shadows program from its infancy, highlighted by an undefeated season and a 4A-II championship in 2006. Last season in 4A-I, the Falcons went undefeated in the regular season before bowing out in the state quarterfinals.
DeGrenier has been in the Cave Creek community for the past 13 years.
"It's been a really hard week," he said. "Gosh, I've spent almost half my life here. My heart is here. I don't want to leave but sometimes you have to take chances."
DeGrenier's old college roommate lives in the area and told him to apply for the job.
DeGrenier also applied for the vacancy at Red Mountain.
The Fossil Ridge school is seven years old and still looking to compete with the top-tier schools in the area. DeGrenier said the people at Fossil Ridge liked the fact that he built up the Cactus Shadows program.
"Hopefully I can do it again," he said.
DeGrenier told his team of his decision Tuesday morning.