Sunrise Mountain High School conducted a national search to fill its vacant head football coaching position, but ended up hiring a guy who lives within walking distance of the north Peoria school.
"I'm part of the community," new coach Jim Carter said. "I have a lot of support from teachers and administrators at the surrounding schools."
Carter was named varsity football coach Tuesday. And his address had very little to do with it. Carter coached at Ironwood High School for the past eight years, serving as the Eagles’ defensive coordinator and coaching special teams. In June 2006, Carter was invited to be the defensive and special teams coach for the Arizona High School All-star Football Game.
He coached the defensive backs and special teams for Cactus High School from 1995 through 2001, and said the foundation for his football philosophies comes from his time with the Cobras.
"I plan to bring a Cactus-style approach, with a winning attitude," Carter said. "I want to have an attacking offense, an attacking defense and attacking special teams."
He was one of several district assistants among the nearly 70 candidates for the job. Sunrise Mountain Athletic Director Nick Battaglia said by the end of the “exhausting, detailed” process, Carter was the unanimous choice of the school’s six-member hiring panel.
“A lot of people may know Xs and Os and a lot of people have good interpersonal skills. Jimmy has both,” Battaglia said.
Since his introduction this week, Carter has immersed himself in the program. He's observed the program since its inception, thanks to living nearby and coaching for schools that frequently played the Mustangs.
He's aware of the school's lackluster football history, with only two playoff appearances since opening in 1996. Though Carter's not sure he can pinpoint the program's primary problem, he's encouraged by what he's seen this week.
"I had 100 kids at our meeting (Thursday), so I don't think numbers will be a problem," he said.