Loyalty. Familiarity. Those were key components Tuesday to Mountain Pointe's selection of Phil Abbadessa as the school's varsity football coach.
Abbadessa, a varsity football assistant at Mountain Pointe since the school opened in 1991, succeeds Arizona's all-time winningest coach Karl Kiefer. Kiefer (308-138-3) retired in November after 40 seasons at McClintock and Mountain Pointe.
‘‘I look forward to being a head coach for the first time,’’ Abbadessa said. ‘‘The kids here like me and respect me. . . . I like it here, and I'm excited about the opportunity.’’
Abbadessa, 46, served as an assistant with Kiefer the last 26 seasons at McClintock and Mountain Pointe. He played football (wide receiver/defensive back for Kiefer) and baseball at McClintock. He also was defensive coordinator at Mountain Pointe and for McClintock's last state championship team in 1989.
During the interview process, Abbadessa stressed his steadfastness to the program and his coaching, which has encompassed football, baseball and softball at each level (freshman, junior varsity and varsity).
Despite football openings at four of the district’s six high schools in recent years, Abbadessa never applied. Only in the early stages of his coaching career, when he did not teach on campus at McClintock, did he entertain a head coaching position.
‘‘I applied for the the job at Eloy Santa Cruz and got the job,’’ Abbadessa said. ‘‘I thought about it 24 hours. Then I changed my mind. I decided, ‘No, I think I'd rather stay here.’ ’’
Kiefer was pleased to see his longtime friend get the nod to succeed him. ‘‘I think Phil's going to do really well,’’ Kiefer said. ‘‘When they announced he was the coach (Tuesday) the kids in the weight room stood up and cheered. He has a great personality. . . A funny guy. A Type-A person. He lives in Ahwatukee and relates well with the community. He started at the middle school and took all the steps. It's neat to see loyalty and ability rewarded.’’