After 27 years, Mike Pry is returning home to coach the Thunderbirds football team.

The former Pebble Hills assistant coach, who graduated from Coronado in 1995, was named the fourth head coach in Thunderbird program history. He will take over from Bob Anderson, who retired this offseason after a 1-9 season.

“It’s definitely surreal. It’s definitely something I can knock off my bucket list,” said Pry. “It’s funny, when I was in high school, I would throw darts at coach [Don] Brooks. I would tell him, ‘coach, I’m going to take your job one day.’ To be able to sit in his desk and his chair, along with coach [Jack] Quarles and coach [Bob] Anderson. It’s very special for me.”

Pry will look forward to rebuilding the program, which is 5-21 over the last three seasons and is searching for its first playoff appearance since the 2018 season.

”This is something I’ve thought about for a long time,” Pry said. “I remember when I first became a head coach, I had a discussion with my dad and he asked me what I wanted to do. I told him I wanted to be the head coach at Coronado. To have the opportunity and think of the players I’ve been privileged to coach, and all the coaches, like [Mark] Torres, this is all very special.”

There have been three former assistant coaches that have left Pebble Hills for other jobs, including Pry, Edward Cano (Socorro) and Chris Taylor (Andress). The Spartans just finished off a season in which they went to the playoffs out of the 1-6A ranks.

Coronado returns players like quarterback Blake Randag, ATH Owen Levesque, ATH Cade Little and tight end/defensive end Mateo Grajeda.

Listen to the full interview with coach Pry on SportsTalk here:

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