Sean Morin will pick up where Roy Lopez left off.
That’s not so simple given the new football coach at Marcos de Niza has to follow one of his best friends in Lopez, not to mention an 88-32 overall record the past decade, not to mention whatever situation(s) unfolded which led to Lopez being placed on administrative leave and eventually resigning as the school’s coach.
None of this phased Morin, a history teacher with a wife and young daughter who’s been at the school 13 years and worked his way up the football program’s proverbial ladder, the past three as offensive coordinator.
Hired earlier this month to continue where Lopez left the program — for the most part — don’t expect sweeping changes at the Division II school in Tempe.
Though he acknowledged it was “hard taking the job under these circumstances with one of my best friends leading the program,” Morin had little interest in reflecting on the past and yet plans to keep a majority of philosophies, approaches and staff.
“We’re kind of continuing on the tradition we’ve started but seen any areas of improvement we’ll deal with it.”
Morin said he plans to continue calling plays on offense, and one of the big question marks for next season will be replacing dual-threat quarterback Josh Eckley who’s graduating. Last season’s JV quarterback, Nazareth Greer, along with Eckley’s backup, Jackson Loney, could create a competition for the position. Or split time. Or, in the case of Loney, could return to wide receiver.
Outside of that key on-field position, however, the rest will shake out in time. The tradition, sense of family and type of kids who come into the program are expected to remain the same.
“I’m in it for the right reasons,” he said of filling substantial shoes left by Lopez. “It’s about the kids and being students and playing at the next level and having a solid foundation for life and the future. Football is a big part of it but No. 1 is academics and being a part of the community.”
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune assistant managing editor. He can be reached at email@example.com or (480) 898-6576.