Joe Parker and Jeff Bowen talked a lot about teaching science at Avondale’s Westview High. Their classrooms were next door to each other.
They also talked a lot about football. Bowen was the school’s head coach for many years and Parker was one of his key assistants.
So the progression seemed natural when Bowen left Westview earlier this year for a coaching post with Arizona Christian University in Phoenix that Parker would take over as head coach.
That became a reality in late April, just before spring practice was about to start, and the transition was a lot more seamless than had somebody been brought in from the outside. Parker was very familiar with most of the players and even had them in class.
“The system stays intact,’’ said Parker.
There he was, wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat as he relayed instructions to his players while they participated in last week’s 7 on 7 passing competition on the practice fields at Arizona State. The event continues on Wednesday (June 11) beginning at 6 p.m.
“Jeff put together a fantastic program, and it is great to be able to have a chance to keep that going,’’ Parker said of the perennial playoff team.
Parker’s realm of expertise is the offensive line. Westview has had some good ones. Parker picked up some good ideas along the way, first as a player at Phoenix Moon Valley for Mel Harms, a protege of legendary Moon Valley coach Earl Putman. Parker later began his career as a high school assistant in Flagstaff for Coconino’s George Moate and coached at Phoenix North Canyon.
Westview’s Knights primarily will run the Wing T, which Putman and Harms ran back in the day and Bowen did more recently.
Parker will work with the offensive linemen a lot this season, but likely will hand those duties over to Victor Alcantara, an up-and-coming assistant.
Being a head coach involves a lot more than you might first realize with all sorts of administrative issues, Parker said.
Some of Bowen’s assistants stayed on board, and Parker said it’s a big deal to also have available the services of two long-time Valley-area coaches. George Burgess was head coach at Phoenix Sierra Linda and John Carroll has been around here seemingly forever, having guided the big-hitting teams at now-closed Phoenix Gerard Catholic and served as an assistant at other schools.