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 30

Boys Golf (3 p.m.)

Mountain View at Haven Golf Course

Ironwood Ridge, Buena, Catalina at Rincon (Dell Urich)

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

Marana at CDO

Maricopa at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Vista Grande

Poston Butte at Catalina Foothills

San Miguel at Pusch Ridge

Freshman Football (6 p.m.)

Maricopa at Marana

Wednesday, October 1

Girls Golf (3 p.m.)

Mountain View vs. Ironwood Ridge (Omnu Tucson National)

CDO, Sunnyside at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Sabino at Catalina Foothills

Cross Country (4:30 p.m.)

Ironwood Ridge, Sahuarita at Flowing Wells (Columbus Park)

Marana, St. Gregory at Catalina Foothills

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

CDO at Ironwood Ridge

Freshman Football (6 p.m.)

Mountain View at Salpointe

Catalina Foothills at CDO

JV Football (6.p.m.)

Marana at Maricopa

Salpointe at Mountain View

CDO at Catalina Foothills

Thursday, October 2

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Mountain View, St. Gregory’s, Pusch Ridge at Marana

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

Mountain View at Poston Butte

Catalina Foothills at Flowing Wells

Pusch Ridge at Willcox

Varsity Football (7p.m.)

Maricopa at Marana

Mountain View at Salpointe

Catalina Foothills @ CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Rincon

Friday, October 3

Boys Golf (all day)

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Santa Rita/Flowing Wells Invitational

Girls Vollyeball (all day)

CDO, Catalina Foothills at Falcon Invitational

Cross Country

Catalina Foothills, CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Desert Twilight Festival

Varsity Footbal (7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at San Tan Valley

Saturday, October 4

Boys Golf (all day)

CDO at Santa Rita/Flowing Wells Invitational

Swimming (all day)

Catalina Foothills, CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Brophy/Xavier Swim Invitational

Girls Volleyball (4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Desert Christian

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