Nate Gill, who reversed the football fortunes of Phoenix Sierra Linda and in the process was named Arizona Republic High School Coach of the Year, will be the school’s next head football coach. Secondary Desert Vista.
“It’s a massive program with a ton of potential,” Gill said. “I’m excited to start.”
Gill led Sierra Linda to an 8-2 record last season, a year after there was no season due to the school district canceling fall and winter sports of Tolleson Union due to COVID-19 and two years after the team went 0-10.
Sierra Linda returns a strong core, led by 6-foot-4 junior wide receiver Stephon Daily, who is among 12 finalists for Republic Offensive Player of the Year.
Gill said he met with the Sierra Linda players on Friday morning to announce his departure.
“I looked them in the eye like men and let them know,” Gill said. “It had zero percent to do with either of them. Hopefully they do the right thing here and give one of my assistants the chance to carry on.”
It’s a whirlwind hire by athletic director David Klecka for the program as it tries to return to the limelight after Ty Wisdom went 5-5 in his only season as head coach.
Gill is expected to be approved as Desert Vista’s next coach at the Tempe Union High School District board meeting next week. He is the third Tempe District coach to be hired to lead a football program. A fourth school in the Tempe District, McClintock, opened as head coach last week after Corbin Smith resigned.
Former Casa Grande coach Jake Barro is expected to be approved to lead Corona del Sol, and former Copper Canyon coach Sean Freeman is expected to lead Tempe at next week’s board meeting.
In 2020, during the COVID-reduced season, Desert Vista went 0-7 in Dan Hinds’ final season at the top of the schedule.
“It’s one of the premier jobs in the state,” Gill said. “It’s going to take some work. I think as long as they have the right attitude, they can get back into the limelight.”
Gill, who also led Sierra Linda’s track and field program, said he plans to be at Desert Vista in the spring, working with track and field athletes and getting to know the players and running football. spring in May.
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