Zone Read: The Saguaro Search

Arizona Sports News online

The consensus regarding Scottsdale Saguaro High School isn’t surprising if you’re familiar with high school football. 

Here’s what one high-ranking official told the “Zone Read.”

“Considering what Mohns built, it’s elite. Not just locally or even on the west coast. It’s considered one of the best high school jobs in the country.”

The worst kept secret in Arizona high school football became official earlier this month when long-time head coach Jason Mohns resigned as head coach at Saguaro to join Kenny Dillingham’s staff at Arizona State, Mohns’ alma mater.

After one of the most successful runs of any head coach ever in Arizona high school football, Mohns pulled the #SagU sports car in the garage.

Now Saguaro principal Ann Achtziger, and athletic director Matt Harris. will ultimately pass the keys to Mohns’ predecessor.

Understandably, interest in the vacancy (internally, in-state, and nationally) has been white hot since since the position opened.

Achtziger and Harris, along with Saguaro’s hand-picked hiring committee (which includes a SHS football alum who played in the NFL) will begin the interview process on January 3rd. 

Here’s a snippet of the release Achtziger sent to Saguaro parents and players detailing the hiring agenda and priorities for their next head coach.  

“Our administration team is working closely with Coach Mohns and our hiring committee to bring in a football leader that is elite on the field and in college recruiting, player development, and relationships. Our next coach will uphold all the esteemed values and traditions of our championship culture in the Saguaro football program to continue to be a top-tier team in Arizona and in the nation.”

Achtziger, in her seventh year at the Scottsdale school and a staunch supporter of all Sabercats’ athletics, is ready to find the right candidate to keep Saguaro football excelling.

“The Saguaro High School interview committee is excited to select our new Saguaro Head Football Coach that will continue the successful legacy of competition of Saguaro Football,” Achtziger said to the “Zone Read.” “And continue to create opportunities for our student-athletes to excel on the field and in the classroom to achieve future goals.”

Viable long-tenured internal candidates include defensive line coach Kyle Caldwell, defensive coordinator Jim Camarillo, and offensive line coach Mark Martinez. All (if they applied) would likely be considered for the position. The question for Saguaro officials is: who would be the one clear-cut choice from the trio? Further, potentially complicating matters is none are presently on campus full-time, which one would assume to be essential when running a high-level program with more daily “moving parts” than other in-state schools.

While Mohns’ blueprint paved the way for a trophy case filled with gold balls, his detailed, hard-working staff served as the perfect compliment to the #SagU brand, both on, and off the field. Keeping the majority of the group intact, irregardless of who is hired, is a high priority from what we’re hearing. I don’t expect the entire 2022 coaching staff to return. 

“Zone Read” has heard there are “elite” out of state coaches who have already applied and will likely be interviewed for the position. 

Some of these candidates may already know, and possibly could have coached with, members of Saguaro’s present staff, considering the number of national All-Star events Mohns and his SHS coaches attended during his time at the school.

The new hire will be asked to only continue to build on-field success, but also spear-head facilities improvements, and strengthen and cultivate relationships with college coaches.

“We are committed to finding the right head coach that understands Saguaro’s values, culture, and tradition of success with a vision that best serves our student-athletes for the future,” Harris explained to the “Zone Read.”

This hire is not only important for Saguaro, but the entire Scottsdale School District, considering the Sabercats are, unquestionably, the flagship football program in the area.