Despite all its success in sports, Desert Vista High School just might have set a record it really didn’t want.
Desert Vista won back-to-back state titles in girls volleyball in 2014 and 2015 and just this past season swept both the girls and boys cross-country state championships, with the girls team setting a state record for total team points (20).
Three years ago, the girls basketball team also won a state championship, but that program is drawing more attention lately for its inability to keep a coach for more than one season.
Jontar Coleman led the 2014 squad to 30 wins and that last title, but he was gone before the next season started.
But that’s only part of a puzzling set of circumstances that has spanned almost a decade. The girls basketball program has had seven head coaches in the last seven years.
That’s worth repeating: seven coaches in seven years.
When Rachel Proudfoot finished the final season of her four-year tenure running the program, a period during which she had two seasons of 20 or more wins and just one losing season, the job was turned over to Jayce Chambers Sheppard.
But the transition didn’t go well. Chambers was asked to step down not long after midseason following an issue between her and a player, and Coleman finished out the season.
Coleman’s only full season was the 2012-13 school year, and he was replaced by Will Gray, who posted an impressive 29-4 record before taking his leave in the off-season.
Gray turned it over to Cheyan Wilson, who contributed a 20-7 record before leaving shortly after the 2015-16 season ended. By mid-May he was on board at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale as the Sabercats’ new head coach.
Desert Vista then brought in Rodney Berry to take the reins last season. He went 16-13 in his only season.
Earlier this month, the Tempe Union High School District Governing Board approved three new positions in the athletics program at Desert Vista. One of those new positions was in the girls basketball program.
Yep, there’s another newbie stepping into the ring.
Raymond Patche will be taking over the Desert Vista girls basketball program for the 2017-18 season.
Patche has coached in the AAU program and was an assistant boys basketball coach in the Scottsdale district, but also spent some time as a volunteer coach for the women’s basketball program at Arizona State University, his alma mater.
Maybe a change at the top will help stop the spinning coaching carousel. Desert Vista also has a new assistant principal for athletics, Tommy Eubanks, who was athletic director at Scottsdale’s Chaparral High School for the past five years.
There are no statistics that track the most consecutive coaching changes in a given sport. But if there were, the Desert Vista girls basketball program would likely have set yet another record.
Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be one to brag about.
-Reach Art Preuss at phxfan.com