In some ways, Scott Hare feels he’s picking up where Kelley Moore left off.
Hare is expected to be Mesa High School’s next football coach when his hiring is officially approved by the school district’s governing board in January, but he had plenty of say with optimism in his voice along the way as he embarks on a new adventure.
Hare, a third-generation football coach in his family, spent the previous eight seasons at Spanish Springs High School in Nevada, where he compiled a 37-46 record as he reconstructed the program after an 0-10 debut season in 2006. The Cougars reached the quarterfinals in 2012.
He also coached at Anderson (Calif.) in the early 2000s.
When Moore resigned in early December after seven years at Mesa, Hare grew excited about what was built and established by the previous regime. The Jackrabbits went 3-7 in 2013 but have a couple key pieces expected to return in RB/LB Turrell Pietz Noble, OL/DL Samiuela Taueli, DB Justin Curtis and LB Kyle Heber Anderson.
Hare was part of another program’s reconstruction at Anderson, which was 0-20 at the varsity level and didn’t win a game for two years at any of the lower levels. Three years later the school reached the quarterfinals.
This time, however, there’s talent in the program, and with an offensive background, Hare plans to continue many of the off-the-field traditions and programs Moore integrated while bringing in a different offensive philosophy on the field.
Noting the Jackrabbits handful of close losses in 2013, Moore’s disciplinary style and neighborhoods of hard-working, blue-collar kids omnipresent around the school, Hare sees a program looking for a new voice to remedy, not reconstruct.
“(Moore) set a foundation for a lot from the standpoint of developing boys into men, and I can continue that and start to focus on the football aspect in my way, and take it from there,” Hare said. “That is an attractive part of the position. Coaches leave and sometimes the program needs so much work. In this case the foundation has been set and done so well with the other aspects, and maybe a fresh voice can kick start a program in other ways on the field. I definitely don’t have to re-invent the wheel.”
Though he has to hire assistants — it’s likely some assistants under Moore who want to continue at Mesa will do so — he plans to use an up-tempo, often no-huddle offense. His defense will likely be a bit more flexible depending on assistant coaching hires.
Such is the way of the high school world these days, and the solid foundation put together by Moore coupled with the growth of high school football competitiveness in the Valley were two significant draws to Mesa for Hare. He’s a physical education teacher who is married with three children who’ll be moving with him to Mesa sometime in late January.
“I’m not really sure there’s too many better places than that area for football,” he said. “(The East Valley) has to be one of the most competitive regions by itself. It’s really good football and that’s a huge draw. The resources at Mesa are pretty good, and I don’t know everything, obviously, but there are a lot of things there you need already in place.”
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Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune assistant managing editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 898-6576.