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AZFCA responds to January All-Star game controversy

Posted by on December 17, 2012 – 2:26 pm

The recent jawings between the Arizona Football Coaches Association and Arizona Interscholastic Association regarding the Jan. 21 All-Star game between some of the top Arizona vs. Southern California players recently caught the attention of the AIA,  which noted the bylaws against having All-Star showcases during the school year for any sport. It was passed in 2005.

On Monday, Avondale Westview coach and AZFCA president Jeff Bowen sent out a letter:

To Players, Parents, and Fans of Arizona High School Football,

Over the past several days there have been many conversations regarding the Canyon-Coast Classic All-Star Football Game that is to be held in Riverside, CA on MLK Day, January 21st, 2013 between some of the top Arizona and Southern California high school football players.  As President of the Arizona Football Coaches Association (AzFCA), I would like to take a moment to share a few thoughts on this event and share the vision of the AzFCA.

In the early 2000’s a group of Arizona high school football coaches started the AzFCA with a clinic at Glendale Community College.  From that initial event moving forward to today the AzFCA has always been driven by one guiding principle; to improve the sport of football in Arizona while providing the best possible experience for the young men that play the game.  With that being said, the Canyon-Coast Classic is the culmination of those guiding principles.  These visions are supported by the AzFCA, the Southern California Football Coaches Association, as well as the athletic governing body of California, the CIF.

Both Coaches Associations see many advantages of holding this event in January and that is why the decision was made to move the game to this time of year.  Playing the game at this time allows the players to be in football shape having just finished their seasons and the weather is more conducive to maintaining player health rather than playing in 115 degrees in June.  From the standpoint of future opportunities for players, playing the game in January before national letter of intent day in February provides a platform for these players to showcase their skills against elite competition that could lead to scholarship opportunities that would not have been afforded to them if the game was played in June. 

After looking at all the advantages, moving the game to January seemed like the proper decision for all involved.  Especially after many of the top Arizona football players had already been playing in all-star games such as the Under Armor All-Star Game, The Army All-American Bowl, and the Semper-Fi All Star game that was played last January at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix, while being coached by some of the top coaches from around the state of Arizona.  Having consulted with some of the coaches that coached in those games, it seemed that all that needed to be done was request, with the AIA, that coaches be allowed to coach in the game.  If as an association we made a mistake, it was that we should have requested permission at an earlier date and not have assumed that we were going to be afforded the same opportunities as some of the coaches that have coached in these all-star games over the past several years. 

With that being said, the AzFCA on December 14, 2012, had requested permission to coach in the game with the AIA and the Executive Board through our AIA Football Advisory Representative.  American Youth Services is organizing the game, to them we say “Thank You”!  The AzFCA also says thank you to Under Armor and Fox Sports for supporting the visions of both the Arizona and California Coaches Associations. The game will go on, whether the Arizona high school coaches are standing on the sideline or sitting in the stands.  It’s always been, and will continue to be about the players that play this great game!  To our many district and school administrators we appreciate the support as we move forward in our endeavors.  The AzFCA will strive to hold ourselves accountable to the same levels of honesty and excellence that we strive to impart in our own student-athletes.  We are educators, and to that end, we want our athletes to see their coaches setting the right examples while we work toward goals that we truly believe in.

Lastly, I hope that in the future the AzFCA and the AIA can share in a vision that moves not only football, but all athletics in Arizona to a level of excellence. We feel that there is so much to be gained by all student athletes, parents, and school communities if the AzFCA, the Executive Board, and the AIA work together in the spirit of open, honest, and transparent communication in the years to come.




Jeff Bowen


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