He’s been Corona del Sol’s ball boy, a player, a volunteer assistant, the junior varsity coach and varsity assistant.
And now, Sam Duane Jr., is the head boys basketball coach at his alma mater and will guide the Aztecs in the gym that bears his father's name.
Duane Jr., the head boys coach at Mesquite the last five years, was selected to succeed Joe Maisel as Aztecs coach Tuesday by Corona principal Jim Denton.
Maisel resigned the position in late April to spend more time with his family.
‘‘I’ve played there, coached there and Corona’s a job I wanted and a place I wanted to be if it came open,’’ Duane Jr. said. ‘‘I grew up there. It's a great opportunity to get back there.
‘‘Mesquite has been good to me. The principal (Dominic Marchiando), athletic director (Matt O’Neill) and the kids have treated me well.’’
In four varsity seasons at Mesquite, Duane Jr. posted a 65-47 record. The Wildcats tied for the region title in 2001 and reached the state tournament in 2002, losing in the first round to Tucson Salpointe.
A year and a half ago, he was the visiting coach when Mesquite and Corona battled in a non-region December game when the Aztecs gym was named for Sam Duane Sr.
‘‘I learned a lot from my dad playing for him and listening to things he's said,” said Duane Jr., a 1986 Corona graduate. ‘‘But I’m my own person. I like that his name is on the gym, but I have to coach the way that's right for me.’’
Duane Sr., who retired from coaching after the 1997 season with 663 wins and had been the only boys coach in the school's history to that point, will not butt in on the job that used to be his.
‘‘It’s his job, I'm happy for him,’’ Duane Sr. said. ‘‘I’m going to stay out of the way. My time has passed.’’ Mesquite will immediately begin a search for a replacement for Duane Jr. with the summer season about to kick into high gear.
Mesquite was 18-11 under Duane Jr. this past season and tied for third in the Fiesta Region, which featured 5A state champion Gilbert and semifinalist Highland. Corona del Sol was 11-16 and finished fourth in the 5A Central Region, which featured state runner-up Desert Vista.