Desert Vista is once again searching for a new head football coach.
This comes just a year after Ty Wisdom was hired to take over the program for Dan Hinds, who retired after the 2019 season. Desert Vista Athletic Director David Klecka confirmed Thursday the school and Wisdom had agreed to mutually part ways.
“As of earlier today, Desert Vista High School and Ty Wisdom have mutually agreed to part ways,” Klecka said in an emailed statement. “We sincerely appreciate the contributions that Coach Wisdom made to our football program and the positive impact he made on our student-athletes during his time at Desert Vista. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Wisdom thanked his players, coaches and his wife, Crystal, for their hard work and dedication to the program during the 2021 season.
“Hats off to the kids first and foremost,” Wisdom said. “I always say players win games and that’s what I said to the kids this morning. I told them they were the reason this program was going to continue to be successful. I loved every part of being on the field and coaching those kids.
“Nobody goes into a job thinking they’re going to be there for a year then leave. That definitely wasn’t the plan but at the end of the day, things just didn’t work out.”
Wisdom was hired in December 2020 by former Desert Vista Athletic Director Tommy Eubanks – who is now the district athletic director for Mesa Public Schools. He spent four years revitalizing the football program at Horizon High School in Scottsdale, which was 0-10 the year before he took over.
Under Wisdom, Horizon went 31-18 and made the playoffs three times, including the first-ever Open Division tournament in 2019.
His last season at Horizon was one filled with adversity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At one point, Horizon was forced play a game against Gilbert with less than 30 players and canceled its matchups against Saguaro and Maricopa due to additional cases within the program.
As a result, Horizon finished 3-3 overall and missed the 5A playoffs, which was decreased from 16 teams to eight due to the shortened season.
Much like he did at Horizon, Wisdom began to flip the script for a Thunder program that went 0-6 during the COVID season.
Under him this season, Desert Vista went 5-6 and made the 6A playoffs. The Thunder fell in the first round to Casteel. But they did re-capture the Ahwatukee Bowl Trophy in an overtime thriller over rival Mountain Pointe in the final game of the regular season.
Wisdom reiterated that it was his decision to step away from the program. He said this decision came after he felt he wouldn’t be able to build the Desert Vista into a premier 6A program like he initially intended.
“There’s people in leadership positions that weren’t willing to allow me to do certain things that I know need to be done to make it an elite program,” Wisdom said. “That’s when I said I probably wasn’t the guy for the job.”
Klecka, in his second year as athletic director, is now tasked with finding a new head coach for a football program with a promising future. The Thunder return quarterbacks Jackson Akins and Braxton Thomas, who both saw time as the starter throughout the year this past season.
They also return key skill players, including running back Christian Clark, who will get the nod as lead back with Devon Grubbs graduating and moving on to Northern Arizona University to continue his career.
Klecka is confident he will find a coach suitable for the Desert Vista community that will continue to build the football program back into an East Valley power.
“I believe Desert Vista is one of the most attractive football jobs in the state of Arizona,” Klecka wrote. “I’m extremely confident that we’ll be able to identify and hire a new head coach who can build on our rich history and winning tradition.”
As for Wisdom, he said he will be on a sideline in 2022.
“I didn’t leave for another job,” Wisdom said. “It’s been a difficult time for my family in terms of thinking through things. You want to be careful in the next decision you make. To be honest, I don’t know right now. We’ll see where I end up. I know I will be on a sideline next year.”