Former Coronado boys soccer coach Nick Barker, who led the Dons to three state titles, is set to become the new head coach of the Hamilton program, pending board approval.
The Chandler Unified School District governing board is expected to vote on Barker’s hire at one of its upcoming meetings.
“My time at Coronado was so special and one that I will cherish,” Barker said. “There was tremendous buy-in from the players, the administration and the community. I leave Coronado with a heavy and full heart but also a lot of excitement and eagerness to jump into a new role with Hamilton.”
Barker takes over after former Hamilton coach Lance Thompson stepped down following the 2019-20 season to become the coordinator of athletic events and development at the College of Southern Nevada.
In his two seasons leading the Huskies, Thompson coached the program to a 6A state title appearance his first year and to the semifinals this past season. He left behind a program littered with talent, including sophomore Luke Schaefer who led the Huskies with 15 goals scored.
“The Hamilton boys soccer program is one of the elite programs in Arizona and has the potential to be one of the elite programs in the nation,” Barker said. “The draw to Hamilton was to work in the highest level Arizona soccer provided but to also work with young men that have opportunities to do amazing and big things once they move on from Hamilton.”
Barker led the Coronado soccer program to a 104-26-12 overall record in seven seasons. The Dons never missed the playoffs under Barker, winning a state title in 2013, 2017 and 2019. Coronado was the top-ranked team in 3A heading into the tournament this past season, but lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Veritas Prep.
Barker stepped down from his position as head coach at Coronado two weeks ago to pursue the Hamilton job. He had to inform players of his decision via zoom after schools across the state closed for the year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Now as he is set to take over the Hamilton program, he will once again have to rely on video chat to get to know his new players. But that is yet another challenge he is prepared to face along with the jump to the top conference in the state.
“The mindset is championship or bust. We want to step into every match wanting to win,” Barker said. “So much of culture is built off of trust. Coming in cold and during this unique situation we are in, the next step is getting to know players as much as possible through different platforms.
“I want to know their ambitions, their goals and things that go beyond soccer. I want to hear each player’s passion and what they want to achieve and then start getting to work to help them reach their goals.”