Members of the MUSD governing board, parents and Rams football players were at the high school lecture hall Tuesday evening to meet and ask questions of newly hired football coach Gary Mattes.
Athletic Director Mike Larsen introduced Mattes, who removed his blazer as he walked on stage, transforming his professional appearance to his ‘get down to business’ shirtsleeves.
Mattes talked about his days as a high school quarterback and his 30 plus years as a football coach. He emphasized the hard work and sweat required to win his five Division 1 titles and his coach of the year award.
Mattes said his first challenge for the players would be “not to look back at the past, but instead to focus on the future.”
Regardless of previous positions under past coaching regimes, Mattes said he plans to play the best players who prove themselves on and off the field and to get as many players as possible in the game.
Mattes also laid out his intention of starting a Total Package Football Program for the city of Maricopa, looking for potential football stars from middle school on up and encouraging them to start looking at the possibilities of playing on higher level teams. The coach plans to recruit students who should be playing by using current players’ recommendations. “Each player gives three names of individuals they believe would be an asset to the team,” said Mattes.
While Mattes is dedicated to football success, he added that grades and being active in the community would be a focus for the players as well.
June Celaya, MHS principal, said she is excited about the new head coach. “Coming from a love of sports, I can’t wait for the new season to start.” She said she has no doubt that the new coach, new changes and new program will create a football program the Maricopa community will be proud to be part of.
Darnell Simons, father of one of the freshman players, said the new coach is from his hometown in Ohio, and he knows the type of football he’ll bring to MHS. “I am very excited for the team and the community football program.”
Several of the players said they are also very excited about their new coach, and the seems to be dependable and confident about his techniques and strategies to turn around the Rams football team.
Mattes announced Aug. 10 as the first mandatory practice, which will allow him to view skills and talent to determine what type of offense and defense he will run.
Photo by Tomel Griggs