Vaughan introduced as Pride football coach - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Sports

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Vaughan introduced as Pride football coach

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Posted: Monday, January 26, 2009 12:00 am

He's played tournament golf so par isn't good enough for Norris Vaughan.

Slideshow:">Vaughan meets with players If Vaughan has anything to say about it, par football won't be good enough to cut it at Mountain Pointe either.

And Vaughan could have a lot to say about it if he is approved to take over the Pride football program as expected next week.

"The biggest thing we have to change is attitude," Vaughan said.

That can take some time, he explained.

"But there are some things we can do immediately," Vaughan added. "We can change our way of thinking and our playing style. We're going to have a wide open, aggressive offensive and be super aggressive on defense. It will be a style I think the kids will enjoy playing and we're going to have kids go to the next level."

Vaughan will be replacing Phil Abbadessa, who stepped down in December after heading the program for the past three seasons. That makes Vaughan only the third head football coach Mountain Pointe has had since Karl Kiefer, who has more than 300 career victories, started the program in 1991.

The Pride were 6-4 three years ago but had two back-to-back losing seasons going 11-19 and 1-9 in the Central Region.

"We're going to make something special here at Mountain Pointe," Vaughan said after he met the Pride team last Friday. "It will be something I think everyone wants to be a part of and we're going to do it one day at a time."

Vaughan is old school Georgia football, complete with the Southern drawl.

"There, football is almost a religion," Vaughan explained. "The excitement in the community is almost like what you see for European soccer teams, but instead of supporting a country, they're supporting a town or community. Everyone goes to the game and even losing teams sell out."

Vaughan continued to coach in that type of atmosphere after he retired from coaching in Georgia after 20 years and ended up in Wickenburg after a successful fling on a Western states pro/am golf tournament circuit.

He was 47-5 at Wickenburg where the Wranglers went deep into the 3A playoffs each season, including three semifinal trips and one championship appearance.

Vaughan brings a 172-95-2 record and a tough work ethic to the Pride program.

"In Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana they play an aggressive style of football that's referred to as Southeastern football," Vaughan explained. "We hope to bring that mentality here. That's the only style I know."

He admits at first it may come as a bit of a cultural shock.

"We can compete," Vaughan added. "We can win but they're going to have to get after it in the weight room, during the off season and they're going to have to train."

The Pride will learn to enjoy it, Vaughan said.

"There's something about feeling good about giving everything you've got and going until you have nothing left to give," Vaughan said. "After a game you're lying there, exhausted and there's something great about that."

Freshmen and sophomores could be getting their varsity jerseys dirty before they are juniors in Vaughan's system that will use the same playbook for freshmen and junior varsity levels.

"If we have a sophomore, or even a freshman, who can play he'll be on the varsity," Vaughan said.

In a way it was football, and a change of climate, that got Vaughan out of the southeast in the first place.

His oldest son played football for the University if Mississippi before transferring to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas where he was a quarterback for two seasons. Vaughan made a few visits.

"I fell in love with the West," Vaughan said. "I love the idea you could play golf every day of the year and it was an easy drive to California or Las Vegas."

Vaughan was a two-handicap golfer who improved even more after he retired from coaching in Georgia and joined the Pepsi Tour that included professional and amateur tournaments in Arizona and California.

But the coaching bug bit again and he started helping with quarterbacks at Paradise Valley High School before taking the job at Wickenburg when the Wranglers were coming off a 3-7 season.

Although the Pride were 2-8 last season, Vaughan shouldn't be facing an empty cupboard when spring football practice rolls around.

"We have some pretty good athletes to work with," Vaughan said. "There's a lot of talent. They just need to be energized."

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

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