Sounding like a man neither bitter nor apologetic, Tom Joseph is ready to move on from Mountain View.
It took the former Mountain View coach a few days to “ponder and collect myself,” after the school fired him on Saturday following a 31-28 double-overtime loss to Desert Vista in the first round of the 5A Division I playoffs.
After nine seasons (92-27 overall), a state championship (2002), two other title-game appearances (2003 and 2006), five semifinals appearances and six region championships, the Toros parted ways with Joseph after — but not specifically because of — the first losing record (5-6) in Mountain View history.
“Making this coaching change has been an extremely difficult decision,” Mountain View athletic director Shawn Rustad said in a statement. “We appreciate and respect the contributions coach Joseph has made to our football program. This was not a decision based on this season’s record. It was based on the evaluation of the overall program. We respect him as an educator, the personal qualities he possesses, and the successes he has had at Mountain View High School.”
Both Rustad and principal Craig Luketich didn’t respond to messages seeking elaboration of Joseph’s dismissal or the school’s process for hiring a coach moving forward, but Joseph said he was asked to resign and refused.
“I knew what I was getting into,” Joseph said. “I did the best possible job I could every day. I cared about the kids and their character beyond football. I’ll take what I have to offer somewhere else, I’m not going to be mad and angry and depressed.”
He plans to continue teaching and being in the weight room with the kids at Mountain View (his teaching contract runs through May). He feels he has another 6-8 years of coaching in him, preferably as a head coach, but on Monday a couple East Valley coaches said they’ve already called Joseph to gauge his interest in being an assistant.
“I think Tom’s done a great job and been an excellent person,” Mesa district athletic director Steve Hogen said. “I’d love to have him coach somewhere in Mesa. He’s got a lot of good years coaching in him.”
After Thanksgiving, Joseph will take a look at the high school coaching landscape in the Valley and ponder his next move. While still teaching in the meantime, he was asked whether he’d like to push the “restart” button on anything in his Mountain View tenure, Joseph referenced the classic Frank Sinatra line: “I did it my way.”
“I have no regrets about what we’ve done or how we’ve done it,” he said. “I think we’ve run a clean program and helped boys become men along the way, and developed character and values they can take into the rest of their lives.
“Absolutely not. Obviously little things can go wrong you don’t have control over, but things I can control? No regrets. My firing affects other people which is unfortunate. I probably feel worse for them than me. They have families and that’s $2,500 for them. That’s a lot of diapers.
“I hope I contributed to Mountain View as a whole, football and beyond.”