Nighthawk grid coach Gary Minor resigns post to make personal time - The Explorer: Sports

Nighthawk grid coach Gary Minor resigns post to make personal time

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Posted: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 12:00 am | Updated: 1:33 pm, Mon Apr 18, 2011.

Northwest prep football fans must be wondering what hit them.

Ironwood Ridge’s Gary Minor resigned as the Nighthawks’ head coach Monday morning, a month after Canyon Del Oro head coach Pat Nugent announced his departure for Pima Community College,

While Nugent chose to leave for the college game, Minor wants nothing more than to slow down for a while.

“I’ve been thinking since this time last year that ‘08 would be my year,” said Minor. “It’s very demanding, practically a 12-month-year job — the summers in particular can become a grind.”

The demands of the job led Minor, a long-time Northwest coach who before taking over at IRHS in 2001 coached at CDO for two decades, to put off things that he will now have time to do.

“(My daughter) will be a senior at Notre Dame and I’ve wanted to spend a football weekend there with her; it’s a wonderful place,” said Minor. “Also, my first QB at IRHS, Ryan Crawford, will be a fifth-year senior at South Dakota State and I’ve never seen him play — I’d like to do that.”

While Minor sounds excited about the new freedom available to him, the decision to leave Ironwood Ridge was a difficult one.

“Right after the season ended, I was ready to step down,” said Minor. “But as December turned into January and January into February, it became harder to do.”

“It’s tough to let go of something that’s been such a huge part of my life for the eight years here at IRHS,” he added. “Getting back around the kids on a daily basis really made me have second thoughts, but I finally decided to take the step last week.”

Those kids have backed his decision every step of the way, Minor said.

“(They’ve) been extremely supportive, they know how hard it is for me to leave,” he said.

He’ll miss those athletes.

“I’ll miss plenty — especially being with the players,” Minor said. “I love being with them in the weight room, our summer trips to passing tourneys, and the practices.

“I’ll miss the fellowship of my fellow coaches here on our staff,” he added. “I’ll miss working at the preparation for each game and the exhilaration of a big win on Friday night.”

“They’re all big wins because so much goes into it,” he added.

There have been a lot of big wins for Minor to celebrate, especially in the last five years.

The Nighthawks amassed a record of 38-20 since 2004, and this year, Minor led the 2008 Nighthawks to the most successful season in school history, going 10-3 and gaining a #4 state ranking before losing in the state playoffs to eventual champion Peoria Centennial.

Those gaudy numbers means tough shoes to fill for whoever steps into the role, but Minor thinks he knows who’ll be up to the test.

“Although I will have no say in the decision, I strongly suggested to our athletic director that Scott Cortese, our defensive coordinator, be the next head coach,” said Minor. “He’s done an excellent job here, has a great football mind, is great with the players, has been involved in our program in all aspects, and has had a great deal to do with our success.”

“We don’t need to go outside to find a new head coach with a man like that,” Minor added.

Whether it is Cortese or someone else who takes over the reins at the program he built, Minor, who will still teach at the school, has some words for the new coach.

“I’d tell him to take advantage of the great football atmosphere that’s provided at IRHS by the players, student body, faculty and administration; take advantage of the community support,” Minor said.

“Just work hard and keep the football tradition that’s developed at IRHS growing stronger.”

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)


Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions


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