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Changing of the guard: MP athletic department sees wholesale changes

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Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2013 6:13 am

The rookie class at Mountain Pointe next year is a rather large one.

It’s a good bet that the athletic department has not had to usher in so many new coaching eras since initially opening its doors in 1991.

“It’s going to be a year of transition for the department, but everyone there does a great job of making someone feel at home,” outgoing athletic director Ian Moses said last week.

In addition to replacing Moses with Brian Winter, the school recently announced that Karen Gray (girls) and Brian Steiner (boys) will take over for Fred Mann as the new volleyball coaches and Grant Sinclair takes over the cross country programs after Heather Kiser stepped down due to a pregnancy.

Additionally, Hosea Graham was hired in March to take over the boys basketball program from Aaron Windler and there is still an opening to replace Pom Brown as the leader of the badminton program, which will try to defend its state championship this fall.

For an athletic program that has had several successful and long tenured coaches over the years, it’s been odd to have more than one coach leave after a school year, let alone four coaches, who oversaw six teams, and an administrator at one time.

So who better to bring them all together than a new face himself in Winter.

“There are certainly going to be a lot of introductions,” Winter said.

Winter is used to seeing a lot of new faces at the beginning of the school year, as the 49-year-old Minnesota native has seen his career go from his home state of Arizona, back to Minnesota, back to Arizona, to Oregon, and back to Arizona.

He has been a head basketball coach (at Highland, Yuma Kofa and Higley in Arizona), an assistant principal and athletic director.Sometimes all three at the same time (Eagle Point High in Oregon).

At Mountain Pointe he will be the athletic director after one year stops at Maricopa (2011-12) and Goodyear Millennium (2012-13).

Winter, who is married (25 years to Katey) with three college-aged kids, believes his long resume has only made him better prepared for anything that comes his way.

“I really believe it does,” he said. “The more you experience the more you learn. I gleaned a little bit from each one. I’ve been in some districts where not a lot of things are done right and some that have functioned at a very high level.

“I’ve always looked at Tempe Union as a great district with a lot of great values in place. It’s a place where they put a high importance on academics and athletics is a big piece as well. That’s certainly the case at Mountain Pointe and there is great potential there.”

The new coaches are about to find that out as well.

“I just heard about all of the changes,” Steiner said. “I knew about the AD, but that’s a lot of new faces. I guess we all get to share our first year together.”

Steiner has the unenviable task of replacing a legend in Mann after the latter moved on to Perry to coach his daughter. Steiner, who was a volunteer assistant in recent years, will get the same chance with the Pride as his son, Elisha, will be a junior on the team.

“The guys already know me and there is a lot of potential there,” said Steiner, who added he will probably coach just two years when new JV coach Clay Webb will take over. “I’ve spent a lot of time around the JV team keeping score and I like what I see there.

“My expectations are always high and Fred has kept this program at the highest level. We are not just hoping to make the playoffs each year.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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Jason P. Skoda
  • Jason P. Skoda
  • Sports writer
  • Resident sports writer at the Ahwatukee Foothills News

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