Monthly Archives: July 2004

high schools

Wilke takes control of GHS Cardinals football team

by Jason Stone

In recent decades, Glendale High School football and coaching consistency has not fit in the same sentence.
Prior to coach Mark Smith’s arrival in 2000, the Cardinals had four head coaches in the previous five seasons. In fact, the program has had so many coaches since the early 1980s that nobody remembers just how many.
So, when Smith decided to leave after the school year for the head coaching opening at Millennium in Goodyear, Glendale High athletic director Pete June knew he had to move fast to find Smith’s replacement.
Turned out, June had to move fast to get that replacement in his own back yard.
Jason Wilke, who coordinated the Cardinals’ offense the last three seasons — and was a major reason the Cardinals went from no wins in 2000 to 13 combined victories in 2002 and ’03 — was beginning to draw interest from other schools for openings.
“The whole reason Jason came to Arizona was he wanted to get the experience to become a head coach,” June said. “So, when he had asked me for a recommendation for a couple of other interviews he was going on, I gave him one. If I’m going to give a recommendation, I mean it. And if he’s good enough to coach another team, he darn well better be good enough for my program.”
So when the situation presented itself, we hired him.
Smith’s sudden departure left the Cardinals in the typical position of reshuffling the deck. But Wilke’s hiring helped bridge the continuity in the program, June said.
After Smith’s first two seasons produced only two wins, Wilke’s offensive scheme kicked in the last two years.
“It’s a system the kids believed in,” said Wilke, a 30-year-old native of Menominee, Mich., and former running back and tight end for Northern Michigan, an NCAA Division II school. “The kids know what is expected of them. My goal now is to get us to the playoffs.”
It has been at least more than a decade since a Glendale team made the postseason. Should Wilke do it this season with 12 returning starters — but only one on the offensive line — Glendale might be looking for another coach soon.
“When Mark came here, he said he’d give us 3 to 5 years, and he gave us four good years,” June said. “I wish no ill will toward him because it’s probably a good opportunity for him. But at the same time, I’m also concerned with the guys here at Glendale. Now, the kids don’t have to get to know another coach.”
The players will have to get acquainted with new defensive coordinator Dan Widmaier, the former head coach at Tolleson High School who has been friends with Wilke since the Glendale head coach moved to Arizona in 2001.
Explosive wide receiver Rickey Jamerson returns, as does other talented skill players.

Published at • July 25, 2004


Council selects vendor for park concessions

by Jason Stone

Phoenix-based Arizona Sno will be the official vendor for the concession stand at three Glendale parks, the Glendale City Council approved last week.
Arizona Sno, which is operated by Nick Mariani, beat out Glendale-based Double “H” Catering, the current concession vendor, for the one-year contract, which has four yearly option years.
The agreement calls for Arizona Sno to take over concessions at Foothills Park (57th Avenue and Union Hills Road), Sahuaro Ranch Park (63rd Avenue and Mountain View Road) and Paseo Racquet Center (63rd Avenue and Thunderbird Road).
The current lease agreement, which was first signed in June 2001, expired at the end of June and the recreation department extended it through July to help with the transition to Arizona Sno.
The concession stands are usually open during citywide special events and recreation programs. Generally, those hours are from 6 to 9:30 p.m. each night.
“But we really don’t have a set time for when it’s open,” said Recreation Supervisor Chris Gallagher. “Basically, the hours will vary based on activities we have.”
Wayne Baxter, deputy director for the recreation department, said Arizona Sno and Double “H” were the only two parties to submit proposals by the March 30 deadline.
A six-member panel made up of representatives from the Finance, Tax and License and Parks and Recreation departments then ranked Arizona Sno as the top proposal and the council agreed at its July 13 meeting.
“We provided (Arizona Sno) with a schedule of our various leagues, tournaments and special events,” Baxter said. “And they’ll sell concessions at all the events.”
The agreement is a one-year deal, beginning Aug. 16, with four one-year renewable options.
The city will receive a minimum annual rent of $4,800 or 21 percent of gross revenue if that is greater. The minimum annual rent amount increases in the option years.
Over the last two years with Double “H”, revenues averaged around $70,000, Baxter said. Under the new agreement, the City would have been awarded nearly $15,000 in rent in partial revenues since it is greater than the minimum rent.
As part of the agreement, prices are required to be “comparable to or less than prices charged by comparable concession operations providing similar services in parks in the metropolitan Phoenix area.”

Recreation Concession At A Glance

  • Phoenix-based Arizona Sno will take over the concession stand contract for Foothills Park, Sahuaro Ranch Park and Paseo Racquet Center.
  • City will receive $4,800 or 21 percent of revenues, whichever is greater.
  • Lease is for one-year with four one-year mutual options.
  • Concession stands reopen Aug. 16 when agreement takes effect.

Published at • July 25, 2004


Coyotes to open at home — maybe

by Jason Stone

Phoenix Coyotes players do not know if the 2004-05 NHL season will be staged.
But if it is, the Coyotes know who they will be playing.
The NHL released its ’04-’05 schedule last week, and baring an expected owner lockout, the Coyotes will begin at home Oct. 13 against Pacific Division-rival Dallas.
The home opener is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Glendale Arena.
All Coyotes home games except four will begin at 7 p.m. Two Sunday games, a game on New Year’s Eve and one on Martin Luther King Jr. Day will feature different starting times.
The two longest home stands at Glendale Arena will be a six-game stretch from Nov. 20 through Dec. 4 and a five-game stint from Jan. 17 through 27.
The Coyotes start the season by playing 11 of their first 19 games on the road. The longest road trip is a five-game swing through Columbus, St. Louis, San Jose, Vancouver and Anaheim from Dec. 17 through 26.
The NHL All-Star Game will be played Feb. 13 in Atlanta.
It is the last All-Star Game before Glendale hosts the event in February 2006.

Published at • July 25, 2004

Esquivel named AD of Kellis HS

Failing eyesight forced Chuck Esquivel to give up coaching football two years ago.

But it did not force the former Ironwood coach from giving up sports all together.

Esquivel was named the athletic director at Kellis High School, the Peoria Unified School District’s sixth high school, which opens doors this fall.

Esquivel led Ironwood to the 2002 5A championship game before resigning months after the game because of a degenerative eye condition.

“He’s got the knowledge and having him come over is a natural thing,” Peoria Unified School District athletic director Rick Johnson said.

Cactus, meanwhile, got a new sports leader as well.

Ted Miller has been named the replacement for the retired Terry Hjelmstad, who retired after the school year.

Miller comes to the sports powerhouse after a stint at Tolleson High School, where he served in the same position as the school moved up to the 5A conference.

Miller is a past president of the National Coaches Association.

“He will be a great addition,” Johnson said. “That’s a big move.”

Johnson, who was the AD at Sunrise Mountain High School in Peoria last year, is back at the district office this year to oversee all six high schools.

Published at • July 14, 2004

high schools

Glendale High football hires new coach

by Jason Stone

A shuffle among high school football coaches has led to a change at the top of the Glendale High program.
Former assistant coach Jason Wilke has been promoted to varsity head coach after four-year coach Mark Smith resigned last month to accept the same post at Millennium.
After only two wins in his first two seasons at Glendale in 2000 and 2001, Smith led the Cardinals to six wins in each of the last two seasons and nearly got the team into the playoffs both years.
Hoping to keep some continuity, Glendale administrators promoted Wilke, who ran the teamís offense the last three years.
The Cardinalsí high-powered offense was one of the main reasons for the teamís turnaround in 2002 and 2003.
Wilke, a 30-year-old native of Michigan, has hired former Tolleson head coach Dan Wittmeier to coach the defense.
Ben McIver is on the staff to coach special teams, quarterbacks and defensive backs, and Wilke plans to hire one more assistant.

Published at • July 14, 2004