Liberty Hires In-House for New Head Coach

Arizona Sports News online

The head coaching search for the defending 6A State Champion Liberty Lions was short-lived as Liberty Athletic Director, Aaron Coughanour, alerted parents and athletes the promotion of Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach, Colin Thomas.

 “I feel very thankful and excited to get the opportunity to lead our great program,” Coach Thomas told Sports360AZ. “Liberty is such a special place to be a part of. Coach Smith is an amazing coach and friend and I look forward to continuing the great traditions that he has instilled and carried out the last five years.”

Thomas has served as the Offensive Coordinator for the Lions for five years and becomes the third head coach football coach in Liberty’s 14-year history. Liberty finished the 2019 regular season at 6-4 with an evolving offense that including multiple games swapping quarterbacks after every possession. The offense found a rhythm at the end of the season and averaged 47 points per game in the playoffs en route to their State Title win over Red Mountain.

“Coach Thomas has played a vital role in the team’s success during the five years that he was the offensive coordinator,” Coughanour said. “Coach Thomas is very passionate and committed to giving the Liberty Football Program everything it needs.”

This will be Thomas’ 14th season coaching at the high school level and his first season as a head coach. Thomas is also a physical education teacher at Liberty.

Thomas takes over for Mark Smith who announced his return to his alma mater, Shelton High School in Washington, on March 11. The Lions are coming off three straight 10-win season in their second year in the 6A Conference.

On offense, the Lions return soon-to-be senior, Brock Mast, at quarterback after getting many reps in 2019. The future of current freshman, Zaccheus Cooper, looks bright, racking up 718 total yards in only seven games in 2019 due to injury. On the defensive side of the ball, soon-to-be junior, Jax Stam, who led the team 105 tackles, returns as well as interception leader, Shane Pitts, who will be a senior.

Liberty will be in Region I in the 6A Conference, facing Brophy Prep, Chaparral, Pinnacle, and fellow West Valley powerhouse, Centennial. The 2020 football schedules have yet to be released.