Gaona in the Game: Lancers fire longtime volleyball coach

After 13 years at helm, Johnson says she was let go for 'parent issue'
2013-05-24T00:00:00Z Gaona in the Game: Lancers fire longtime volleyball coachDaniel Gaona Arizona Daily Star
May 24, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Salpointe Catholic's Amy Johnson was one of the top volleyball coaches in Southern Arizona and possibly in the state, but Wednesday, she was unexpectedly fired after 13 years with the Lancers.

"It's very upsetting to me," Johnson said. "I put my heart and soul into that program and I think I built it to what it is and it's heartbreaking. It's absolutely heartbreaking."

Johnson said the reason for the firing was a "parent issue" and said it's unfortunate to go out that way.

Salpointe athletic director Phil Gruensfelder directed me to school president Kay Sullivan. She declined to comment on the situation.

"I love that school, I love that program and I love those kids," Johnson said. "Bottom line, I think it should come down to what the kids want and instead it came down to what the parents want."

Ironwood Ridge volleyball coach Bill Lang said it's a sad day for the Tucson volleyball community to lose Johnson. He said it was always a goal to beat her teams, which combined to go 207-125-5 since 2008.

"We never want to see a coach go out that way," Lang said.

Johnson led the girls team to the state tournament in all but one year in her tenure.

The boys made it at least to the state quarterfinals every year, went to the semifinals five times and the finals twice.

"I'm thankful, and I appreciate everything she's done for us in the past 13 years," Gruensfelder said.

Desert Christian, Alday earn postseason honors

Desert Christian boys basketball and track and field coach Iram Alday was named the 1A/2A/3A coach of the year and the Eagles took home the small schools Directors' Cup - the biggest prize of the day - at the Arizona Interscholastic Association's Champions Award Luncheon on Monday.

Two other locals, Pusch Ridge Christian senior Sarah Macdonald and Sabino senior Courtney Spalt, received scholar-athlete awards.

"I was glad to see Southern Arizona get some recognition," said Alday, who has been at Desert Christian for 12 years and teaches social studies at Pistor Middle School. "I think a lot of coaches and athletes do really well. It's awesome to start getting some recognition for all the hard work down here."

Five football standouts

receive scholarship offers

Salpointe Catholic junior football players Cameron Denson and Kaelin Deboskie both received offers from West Virginia and Oklahoma State this week.

Denson, who is rated a four-star recruit by Scout.com, verbally committed to the UA in January but now has 10 other offers on the table. Deboskie, a transfer from Texas, already has four offers.

Sierra Vista Buena junior running back Dominique Drake got his first offer, from Army, while Sahuaro's Cole Sterns got an offer from North Dakota and Mountain View's Corbin Gouby received one from two-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State.

Colt helps South win Ariz.

basketball All-Star game

Sierra Vista Buena senior RaShawn Avery scored 17 points in the Arizona Basketball Coaches Association Big School All-Star Game, held Saturday night at Mesa Community College.

The South won 99-98 as Avery and Tempe Marcos de Niza's Richaud Gittens shared scoring honors.

Avery, who will play at Trinidad (Colo.) State Junior College, averaged 18.2 points per game as a senior to break the school record.

Nine So. Ariz. athletes

garner national honors

Ironwood Ridge state champions Matt Filbert, Scott Simmons and Troy Taylor were among seven Nighthawk wrestlers named Academic All-Americans by the National High School Coaches Association on Thursday. Others honored were seniors Clint Allen and Jake Allen and freshmen Marco Dominguez and Kyle Taylor.

San Manuel two-time state champion hurdler Wayne Newman, a senior, was the only other Southern Arizonan on the list of 140 athletes from 32 states.

• Former Canyon del Oro softball player Kayla Henry, now at Grand Canyon, was named a National Fastpitch Coaches Association second team All-American.

College signing

• Gabe Fennema, a three-year starter at goalkeeper for Desert Christian, signed to play at NAIA school Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill., on Thursday. .

Contact high school sports coordinator Daniel Gaona at dgaona@azstarnet.com or 807-7761. On Twitter @DanielGaona13

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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