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Sometimes it’s easy to pick a coach of the year candidate. A championship or a playoff run is the usual measuring stick. If that’s the case then what about a coach who takes a program from four wins to 18 in his first year?
The Flowing Wells boy’s basketball team last had a winning season in 2005 and then nothing. Nine years of frustration with seasons where six or eight wins was the norm. Senior standout Jesus Campa was in the fourth grade when Flowing Wells had 16 wins.
Martio Harris took over and led his team to 18 wins, five more than the last two years combined. This was the main reason why he shared Division II coaching honors with Masai Dean of Cholla and Kelvin Eafon of Pueblo.
AllSportsTucson.com sat down with Harris and let him tell us in his own words how he was able to turn the program around:
“I became head coach at Flowing Wells because I went a year there in 1990 and graduated from there. I noticed that the athletic programs were struggling and I have children that are athletes living in the school district.
I have always coached youth sports since I stop playing, so I decided to apply for the job and found a new purpose when I got it. When I first became the head coach I knew I needed a shifting in mentality so I put situations together so that they would be together through the spring, summer and early fall, just hanging out.
I believe that is what began to change the culture. Next, I taught my players how to play fundamental basketball and then how to play together. We were playing pretty good basketball by the end of the summer and were competing for championships in every league we played in, even when we went out of town.
Unfortunately I only had one year with most of my team and I will lose six players to graduation. I will be returning my second group which were all juniors, one which is my oldest son, Martio Harris, Jr.
I also will have my two youngest son’s playing up with me as well and they will be freshmen (twins, Tomari and Demari Harris). They have already been playing elite level basketball.
We will probably be in a building process still but, with stability of a changed culture, the process should be smoother. I look forward to the challenges of starting my second year with younger guys.”
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here, on AZPreps365.com and on the pages of the Vail Voice and the Tanque Verde Voice. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com