SAFFORD — Safford’s BB Andrews is in the National Coaches Hall of Fame for girls track and field, and this year, he had a chance to be a two-time honoree when he was nominated for inclusion for coaching the Bulldogs boys track and field team.
Making this year even more special, his son was nominated for the hall for Safford wrestling.
While neither of them struck gold on the hall nominations, they were both recognized as Region 8 coaches of the year in their respective sports.
The following is an interview between the Courier and Herman Andrews.
Q: How was the trip?
A: It was good. I’m a chair member on the national wrestling board. They nominated me to be a wrestling chair. I enjoyed my time doing it. When they asked me, I couldn’t say no. It’s a lot of e-mailing and calling after hours. It was a very nice conference. Peggy and Jennifer Moon came and supported us again; it was very appreciated. They’ve always been there. If they hadn’t been there, it would have been just my dad and myself.
Q: How do they decide who gets inducted into the Coaches Hall of Fame?
A: It’s built off of a rubric, but the guy I least expected to win it, won it. Whatever. When you’re so competitive and you don’t get your name called . . . you shouldn’t be upset. I do everything I can to get there, and you call somebody else? Still, it’s enjoyable. I love hearing other people talk, especially when they have the same passion and drive as I do. It’s an honor to be recognized as Region 8 coach of the year for our respective sports.
The rubric includes longevity of coaching, including at the same school your accolades in your sport, state-level accolades, national-level accolades, how you give back on a state level, youth level and national level, which means you coach an all-star team or compete at a national level. Coaching-related community service is on there as well, and there are categories outside your sport, too. My dad’s and my accomplishments are based solely on our respective sports.
Q: Did the nomination event organizers at least feed you well?
A: Yes. This is a top-notch organization that all coaches should be a part of. Our school, for whatever reason, doesn’t buy into it, so it’s hard for us. Our representative, Steve Johnson, just passed away recently, and he was paying our fees for Arizona. We had a chance to have a national coaches convention here in Arizona in 2021, but that’s out the door. No one’s buying into it now that Steve’s gone.
Most of these organizations give back to your sports programs. Illinois does it, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, all the Midwest states take care of their coaches because it’s such an honor to be nominated. They want you to know it’s such a special event and we are honoring you for all you’ve done and have given back to the community.
Their hotels are taken care of; if they drive, their mileage is taken care of; if they fly, that’s paid for . . . whatever. They get all that back. We here in Arizona don’t have that buy-in, so we don’t have those liberties. If your school doesn’t pay for hotels or flights, you’re on your own.
Q: Do you think this lack of appreciation is one reason why Gila Valley coaches have a high turnover?
A: Yes. I think if we were more like the other states and honoring people, we’d hold onto them. When Bob Faunce was athletic director, he was everywhere. And if a coach was going somewhere, he was making sure everything was being taken care of, and that’s why so many state championships were coming when he held the reins. Now, everything’s streched so thin that they’ve got Toni (Corona, Safford athletic director) bouncing wall-to-wall. She’s all over the place.
Q: Who are some of your memorable athletes from over the years?
A: Most of my guys are back in town. It’s good to see that they have a strong work ethic and continue to work towards their goals. I can tell you right now, Bailey Sanford is that guy. He has been wanting to be in the service forever. He’s worked hard to get there, and his brother was in there before him. Now he’s in there and doing a great job. I can’t wait to see him.
You’ve got Zack Scythe, who’s over in Oregon at school. He’s doing really well right now. He’s wrestling for Warner Pacific.
Ryan Lewis is over at Notre Dame in Ohio. He red-shirted last year and got a bunch of matches with these DI school guys. He’s back here training before he has to go back.
Q: What’s next?
A: It’s time to get ready for the next year, next group of kids. That’s always what it’s been all about. The nominations, someone saying, ‘Hey, you are doing a good job and we appreciate it.’ That’s how I’m going to take it. My dad is the same way. It’s good to get a pat on the back once in a while. It’s bad you’ve got to be appreciated by people outside your school.