Molander Builds Staff with Championship Experience

4 months ago Andrew Luberda 0

High school football teams around the state prepared for the 2019 season beginning in the spring, including newly opened Eastmark High School, which is now halfway through its inaugural season that features an eight-game schedule. The Firebirds will field their first varsity team in 2020.

Scooter Molander.

Head Coach Scooter Molander, who led Brophy Prep to 12-straight playoff appearances and two state titles in 13 seasons, finalized his Firebirds’ staff prior to the start of summer camp, which includes two on-campus coaches – Thurmond Moore (Defensive Coordinator) and Adam Schiermeyer (Offensive Coordinator) – in addition to a pair of off-campus coaches – Will Sutton (Defensive Linemen) and Chris Driving Hawk (Offensive Line and Special Teams Coordinator).

“(The) tremendous experience and tremendous success at numerous places that our staff has been,” Molander told when asked why he chose this group of coaches to join him in building the Firebirds’ program. “Not only from the wins and losses but from developing quality young people.

“We’ve been methodical in our approach to developing a program,” he continued. “The administration at Eastmark has been supportive in everything that we’ve done. It’s a great energy going on here right now.”

Besides Molander himself, many will likely be most familiar with Sutton, the former Sun Devils’ standout defensive lineman who was a third-round pick of the NFL Chicago Bears in 2014. During his five-year stint in the NFL, Sutton played for the Bears (2014-16), Minnesota Vikings (2017), and San Francisco 49ers (2018). The two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year (2012-13) and consensus All-American (2012) also played for the Arizona Hotshots (2019) of the now-defunct Alliance of American Football, and he may be playing for an XFL team next spring. Coaching at EHS is an extension of lessons Sutton learned at Arizona State and in the NFL.

“Going to ASU, we did a lot of projects (that included) giving back,” Sutton said about his desire to join the Firebirds’ staff. “Same thing with the NFL, so giving back was my concern, and I love kids. I love being around the guys; it just brings something out of me that’s hard to describe in words, but I just love giving back and love trying to make these kids into better men.”

The Firebirds’ coaching staff shares several commonalities, including Molander’s philosophies in building a championship program with players developed to be better individuals on and off the field.

(Kelli Luberda, @CountyLineKel.)

“We all have our own backgrounds, but ultimately we want to build a program to win a state title,” said Schiermeyer, who most recently coached at Perry High School and will serve as Eastmark’s Strength and Conditioning Coach. “The school is in the right location in terms of getting students that will exemplify the values of Eastmark and represent the school in a positive way on and off the field.”

The opportunity to work for Molander – some for the first time and others who have coached with him previously – made the jobs even more intriguing. Molander’s reputation was his greatest recruiting tool for attracting the best coaches to join his staff.

Moore, who won championships at Brophy Prep with Molander, perhaps knows him best and is qualified to call him a “a great father, friend, and head coach.”

“I’m coaching with a brother,” Moore said.

Driving Hawk knows Molander well, too. Although, from a different view than that of Moore. Driving Hawk was part of the coaching staff at Hamilton that competed against Brophy Prep during Molander’s tenure, including the 2014 playoff semifinals.

“He’s a coach that I know knows his X’s and O’s,” Driving Hawk said, “I wanted to be around him because I know I’m going to learn something from him and he’s a heck of a coach.”  

The coaches have been impressed by the players since they started.

“I’m excited with their ability and how fast they’re able to pick up the game,” Driving Hawk said. “I’m truly excited to watch their potential develop over the next four years.”

Added Moore: “They’re gritty,” citing an example from summer camp in Joseph City. “To me, if you have grit and are willing to grind, you have a chance to be successful.”

The Firebirds have won three-straight games after a season-opening loss at Mesquite. They’ve scored 30-plus points in their last two wins while allowing only two touchdowns over their last three games.

“I’m very, very confident we’re going in the right direction,” Molander said.

No doubt about it.