The Mountain Pointe boys basketball program had a stability problem that needed to be addressed.
Three coaches in three years for any program can be tough to overcome.
Make sure that third coach already has a connection with the program and the administration at Mountain Pointe did just that Friday, Pride principal Bruce Kipper confirmed, by announcing the hiring of Hosea Graham, who was the Pride’s junior varsity coach during the 2011-12 season.
“We were able to hire someone not just with head coaching experience, but first-hand knowledge of Mountain Pointe and our student athletes,” athletic director Ian Moses said. “It’s the perfect marriage.”
The hire won’t become official until the board approves it on April 17.
Graham, who was a finalist in last year’s coaching search, takes over for Aaron Windler, who resigned after one year for family reasons. The latter took over for Brian Fleming, who stepped down after six years to also spend more time with family.
Graham, who is a senior project manager at Honeywell, returned to coaching at the high school level in 2011 after a similar decision when he resigned from the top job at Seton Catholic in 2007 after 12 years with a 243-64 record to watch his son, Martin, play in college.
After missing out on the Mountain Pointe head job, he left to take over the Westwood program. He led the Warriors to a 10-17 record last season.
He returns to the Pride family with his former junior varsity players entrenched as the program’s top players.
“It fits like a perfect glove and I feel really comfortable,” Graham said. “I don’t feel any pressure to prove myself and I don’t have to figure out how I begin a relationship and gain their trust because I already have it.”
Juniors Dominic Reyes, Danny Sullivan and LaVonte Bedford will be familiar players, while junior Chris Davis, a newcomer last year, provides a big body. There is also the possibility of Jalen Brown, one of the nation’s top football recruits, and Emmanuel Butler, who is gaining steam in football recruiting, could lend a hand.
“I’m excited to have coach Graham back because it definitely helps our chemistry seeing as more than half our players played for him in the past,” Reyes said. “It’s good that we will mostly be familiar with the system. Hopefully, that will make us better as a team.”
The Pride went 14-13 last season and played better as the season wore on before losing in the second round of the state tournament in a three-overtime game by eventual state champion Corona del Sol.
While the administration had to post the job and interview other candidates, it was pretty clear all along who was going to get the job considering moments after the news of Windler’s resignation broke the hash tag #teamgraham gained momentum on Twitter.
“He’s a great person,” Reyes continued. “Not only will he make us better on the court, but off it as well.”
Graham heard about the reaction and understood it.
“I always felt the connection was never severed,” Graham said. “I enjoyed my time there with the players and even the parents. It was a great connection that we can continue.”
Graham said the only job he would have left Westwood for was Mountain Pointe, a position he never expected to be open one year after leaving.
“I totally thought that door was closed for good,” Graham said. “I was starting to get the change I was looking for at Westwood and after another year those roots would have been too deep to leave.
“It was difficult facing the (Westwood players), but everything fits so well for me at Mountain Pointe. I love the AD, I trust the principal and we share the same vision for the school and program, and the players know my philosophy and trust me.
“When you have that, kids believing in themselves and the team and seeing measurable progress, you really have something special.”
• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.