Nate Gill, who turned around Phoenix Sierra Linda's football fortunes and in the process was named The Arizona Republic high school Coach of the Year, will be the next Desert Vista High School head football coach.
"It's a big-time program with a ton of potential," Gill said. "I'm excited to get started."
Gill led Sierra Linda to an 8-2 record last season, a year after there was no season due to the Tolleson Union High School District cancelling fall and winter sports due to COVID-19 and two years after the team went 0-10.
Sierra Linda returns a strong nucleus, led by 6-foot-4 junior wide receiver Stephon Daily, who is among The Republic's top 12 Offensive Player of the Year finalists.
Gill said he met with the Sierra Linda players on Friday morning to give them the news of his departure.
"I looked at them in the eyes like men and let them know," Gill said. "It had zero percent to do with any of them. Hopefully, they do the right thing here and give one of my assistants and opportunity to keep this going."
This is a splash hire by Athletic Director David Klecka for the program that is trying to return to prominence after Ty Wisdom went 5-5 in his only season as head coach.
Gill is expected to be approved as Desert Vista's next coach at next week's Tempe Union High School District governing board meeting. He is the third Tempe district coach to be hired to lead a football program. A fourth Tempe district school, McClintock, opened its head coaching vacancy last week after Corbin Smith resigned.
Former Casa Grande Coach Jake Barro is expected to be approved to lead Corona del Sol, and former Copper Canyon coach Sean Freeman is expected to lead Tempe during next week's board meeting.
In 2020, during the COVID-reduced season, Desert Vista went 0-7 in Dan Hinds' last season leading the program.
"It’s one of the premier jobs in the state," Gill said. "It’s going to take some work. I believe as long as they've got the right attitude, they can return to prominence."
Gill, who also led Sierra Linda's track and field program, said he plans to be at Desert Vista in the spring, work with the track and field athletes and get acquainted with the players and run spring football in May.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona Republic HS football COY Nate Gill named to Desert Vista post