(4-28-17) Desert Vista (Az) High School administrators have decided to go in a new direction by firing 40 year veteran Head Baseball Coach Stan Luketich.

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Luketich FILE

  • started Phoenix Desert Vista’s baseball program in 1996 and led the Thunder to two state championships (1999 and 2001)
  • has coached baseball for 42 years
  • led Phoenix Moon Valley High School to a Arizona state title in 1989
  • Inducted into the Arizona Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2007.
  • In Europe-managed the Czech national team (1995 and 1999 European Championship),  the Belgian national team (2003 European Championship) and coached for the Spanish national team (2007 European Championship).

Luketich, was asked twice during meetings this past year to step-down from his coaching position by both the AD and the Principal, but the veteran coach declined and turned down their request.  This past Wednesday,  turned out to be his last game as he was fired by school officials.

In an email statement issued by Desert Vista AD T.J. Snyder:

“After much consideration about the future of the Desert Vista baseball program, a decision was made to go in a new direction.  We thank Mr. Luketich for his service and wish him well.”

Luketich, was more open on why he is no longer the coach, he told the Arizona Republic the reasons he was being released:

“you do not effectively communicate with Millennials.”

“He said (AD T.J. Snyder) , ‘Your kids don’t play with passion and energy.’ I said where do you come up with that? He said he went to an AD meeting and a colleague told him that.”

Fellow coaches have a lot of respect for the veteran coach, but also are aware of a lack of support by administrations at many schools across the country for it’s coaching staff.

Phoenix Horizon Baseball Head Coach Eric Kibler in the azcentral.com story said:

“Years past administrators back their teachers and coaches. Nowadays, they do not want to take the time to really understand the situations and issues that happen in schools today. It is a tough job but so is coaching. Most coaches do a great job and spend countless hours helping kids out everyday. Players and students really do want discipline and have some one care enough to help them even though at the time they may not like it.

Turn back the clock to April 21st, 2016 when Desert Vista held a ceremony to honor Luketich, Snider told the Ahwatukee Foothill News:

“He only wants the attention to be focused on the players.”

Snider seems to have forgotten what he said that day.

On the same day Luketich told the paper:

“I’ve had great kids every year. It’s great to see them. We have guys come back all the time to practice or a game. They just come in the dugout.

“It is home and I want it to always be their home.”

When you hear from fellow coaches and past players, it seems that Luketich communicates at all levels.

Former pitcher Ryan Coffin, a member of the 1999 State Championship team said:

“There is always a lesson and a point in everything he does. He taught us to be men and he taught us how to win the right way.”

Mountain Pointe coach Brandon Buck:

“He is such a great coach, and we’ve had so much fun over the years. It’s been great for me to watch him and learn from him, and you don’t say that very often.”

Phoenix Horizon Baseball Head Coach Eric Kibler

“Stan is one of the best human beings I have ever met. He stands for what is right in our profession. His values and standards need to be supported. The trend of not supporting coaches is a serious issue today. The military and athletics are where kids learn discipline, accountability and team-first attitude. These are invaluable traits that can be carried through a lifetime.”

It’s becoming a lot more common place to see a ‘veteran’ head coach being fired, non-renewed or given the chance to resign first.  These choices of removal are being dictated by school administrators who do not seem to appreciate the efforts by these long-time professionals.  Many times parents have been behind firings like this and it seems that school officials have now decided that is reason enough.  It’s a sad situation to see dedicated individuals that work so hard over the years to help student-athletes achieve success to hear in the end –

Don’t let the door hit you in the rear-end on the way out


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