Taz Wallace to serve as Morenci football coach 01.05.2011

Written by David Green.

taz.wallace.jpgMorenci has a new head football coach in place for 2011 season and he’ll turn his attention to lining up support staff.

Morenci’s board of education met in a special session Wednesday to hire the district’s athletic director, Taz Wallace, as head coach. Wallace’s role as AD presented a challenge.

Normally, the AD would be part of the hiring process, said Morenci superintendent Michael Osborne, but not when he was also an applicant. As soon as Wallace applied for the job, he was completely out of the hiring process.

“The first thing the board did was to make a decision on Taz,” he said. “If we said ‘no’ to him, then we would want to have him in on the process.”

Contact was made with some other districts that have athletic directors who also coach to see how they handle the situation. Concerns were expressed about evaluating the coach and also about the perception of fairness that the AD would show toward the district’s other sports.

Those discussions led the board to choose Wallace who is seen as a well-qualified person already on the school staff.

In discussing Wallace, Osborne said a concern was raised about his limited coaching experience—three years as an assistant with the Adrian High School team—but he was highly recommended by Adrian’s staff who wishes it had a way to work him into their own coaching staff.

“I think he’s talented enough that other schools would like to use him,” Osborne said, referring to Wallace’s coaching abilities as well as his other skills. He also serves as a behavioral specialist in Morenci.

“He’s already in the district, he has connections with the students, he cares about kids and his heart is in the right place,” Osborne said. “I spoke with the board members and they’re all confident in the decision made.”

The bottom line for him, Osborne said, is that Wallace is the sort of individual he want to have for his own children’s coach.

Osborne spoke of the need to have some continuity in both the athletic director and coach roles. Wallace shares that concern and said he intends to remain with the job.

Wallace went to high school at Madison and played football with Adrian College where he was a three-time All-American linebacker. Linebacker coaching was his primary duty when he was with Adrian High School’s program.

“I’m excited about it. I hope to get a coaching staff in place in the next few weeks,” Wallace said. “An offensive coordinator will be the first person.”

Wallace said he also spoke with a football coach who serves as athletic director and that conversation gave him the confidence that he could successfully handle both jobs.

Five candidates applied for the job, Osborne said, including two from out of state.

  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
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    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
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    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
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    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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