New Westwood coach Spencer Stowers may be 26 years old, but he deemed himself ready to take on the challenge of rebuilding the Warriors after a couple years of tuteledge with Queen Creek coach Joe Germaine.
Having worked under Joe Germaine the past two years at Queen Creek, what's rubbed off on you?
He knew I wanted to be (a head coach) and the direction I wanted to go, and he encouraged me, as did (Queen Creek athletic director) Paul Reynolds. Joe transferred a lot of his experiences from when he played. Obviously I didn't play in the NFL or Division I college, but he was a great teacher of the game, and I have the same quality, the nuts-and-bolts, teaching the game. Our focus will be on the character of players and coaches. There's a lot of knowledge and understanding, but it's not always easy to get knowledge across to kids and he does that, and I think I'll do the same.
The challenges at Westwood have been chronicled the past few years, how do you try and turn it around?
We have to get kids excited and eligible about playing football. They have a tough schedule, but it's difficult to say for me from the outside. It'd be much easier to evaluate while being there.
They have a lot of the same issues Mesa schools have, getting kids excited about playing, getting numbers up and eligible to play. I look forward to giving them a chance to succeed and compete at a high level. The schedule will be tough, and it's really brought me to that school. I look forward to coaching at that level. I grew up in Arizona and my dad played at Mesa High, and I know Westwood is a school that has tradition and competes at a high level and it's a great opportunity. It's obvious there's going to be challenges there in all facets, but I look forward to the challenges.
Are you nervous about making the leap from Queen Creek assistant/JV to running a Division I-sized program?
When change is involved there's the unknown. Football is what I know and love and be involved in. I knew leaving playing and coaching college at Jamestown (N.D.) it was something I'd heavily pursue and I'm not taking it lightly. It's going to be different and a change, and a lot of obstacles not seen before. I know some may or may not think it, but I wouldn't try this if I didn't think I was ready.
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 898-6576.