Adjusting to a new coach always creates challenges and requires patience for the players on a team. For some of the seniors on the Mountain View High School football team, they have had to endure this process for three straight seasons. Despite the lack of consistency and foundation, they maintain resilient and positive attitudes as they begin this 2012 season under new head coach Clarence “Bam” McRae.
“We’ve done this for three years now,” senior running back/corner Weston Kimmel said. “So it’s pretty easy, but it is tough having to buy into a different philosophy every year.”
Three years ago, after a disappointing 2009 high school football season and three seasons under head coach Paul Schmidt, Mountain View decided to go in a new direction in hiring Justin Argraves. Two seasons and two coaches later, the Mountain Lions are still struggling. After Argraves left the school for Tucson High following the 2010 season, the team brought on highly-esteemed head coach Larry Branson hoping to have found a long-term solution. However, Branson followed in Argraves’ pattern leaving after one lackluster season to accept the head-coaching job at Casa Grande Union. In an attempt to put an end to this coaching carousel, the school hired former University of Arizona strength and conditioning coach McRae to take over in February of this year, and it appears he is there to stay for the long haul.
“It is a whole new system and different coach,” senior offensive/defensive tackle Shane Tidaback said. “We just have to overcome our obstacles and do what we gotta do.”
While the seniors on the team have certainly been somewhat rattled by all the change the team has gone through, they won’t let that stop them from going out on the field and performing how their new coach expects of them.
“Whichever coach comes in, you got to give them your respect,” senior fullback/outside linebacker James Robinson said. “We can’t worry about what’s happened in the past, we just got to look forward to the future, and keep our heads up.”
Kimmel, Tidaback, and Robinson have all been impressed with what they’ve seen from McRae, and are confident that the team will function well under him.
“He’s made us all disciplined, which is what we didn’t have last year,” Tidaback said. “He knows his training, he knows his Xs and Os, he knows all his stuff.”
Coach McRae comes from a long line of football stars and lovers. Not only that, but he has multiple connections to Mountain View and its football program, as his brother is a MVHS graduate and his cousin helped the team win its only state championship. Based on his involvement so far, the Mountain Lion seniors are optimistic about his investment in the school and football team.
“He brings a lot to the table,” Kimmel said. “He’s been around football forever, and his whole family is helping out with the team. It’s been really good [so far].”
After Mountain View opened its doors in 1987, legendary coach Wayne Jones was tapped to get the program off the ground. Jones led the Mountain Lions to many winning seasons and a 1993 4A state championship in his 19-year tenure at Mountain View, culminating in a playoff appearance in his final season in 2006. Now the school hopes to enter a new successful era under McRae, and perhaps he’ll craft his own legacy in Tucson high school football lore. As for this season, the seniors are just taking it week by week.
“It’s going be just one game at a time,” Robinson said. “It’s about preparing for that team that’s coming up on Friday night, going to the playoffs, going to state. That’s what every team wants.”
Mountain View opened the 2012 season up with a win Friday night, beating inner-district rival Marana 25-18.