Video: Sam Duane Jr. - MaxPreps National Coach of the Year
See a photo slideshow from the Corona del Sol boys basketball season
If Sam Duane Jr. was the bragging type, he would really
be looking forward to the next family function.
His father, Sam Duane Sr., took Corona del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.)
to nine state championship games in 20 years as head coach between 1977 and 1997, winning four and piling up nearly 700 victories in a career that spanned four decades.
He was named Arizona Interscholastic Association Basketball Coach of the Century in 2000.
But Sam Jr. has one-upped his legendary father by at least one measurable.
"It took him 20 years to win four state titles and it only took me 12," Duane Jr. – the MaxPreps 2014-15 National Coach of the Year – joked Monday via phone.
It's unlikely that the second-generation coach needed to point it out to his father. Duane Sr. attends all of his son's games and undoubtedly watched with pride as the Aztecs beat Desert Vista of Phoenix back on March 2 to win their fourth-consecutive Arizona state championship.
During the four-year run of success, Corona del Sol owns a record of 127-7 and is in the midst of a 70-game win streak over in-state foes. The Aztecs have finished ranked in the Top 10 nationally by MaxPreps each of the past two seasons.
Duane Jr. is 275-87 overall in 12 seasons at Corona del Sol after a stint at Gilbert (Mesquite).
He identified the 2010-11 season as a turning point in the program. University of Oregon freshman point guard Casey Benson, future NFL Draft pick Andrus Peat, Avery Moss and Calaen Robinson led a group that went 23-6 and reached the Division I quarterfinals.
Corona del Sol took the next step a year later.
"We had been very competitive up to that point, but that group learned how to win at a high level and began to buy in to what we were doing," Duane Jr. said. "They sacrificed and focused on winning."
That attitude prevailed in 2014-15 despite sophomore point guard Alex Barcello
and freshman big man Marvin Bagley III
– who was named State Player of the year by the Arizona Republic – taking prominent roles on the team.
"I knew we would be very talented, but our guys really bonded last summer and bought in to their roles," Duane Jr. said. "That's the culture in our program right now."
This season the Aztecs beat state finalists from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Washington, suffering their only loss to California Division V state champ Sierra Canyon.
The Top 10 national rankings and string of state titles are sure to make the target on Corona del Sol's back even bigger.
"This year that target was huge," Duane Jr. said. "We took everybody's best shot and it made us work harder, made us better prepared."Past MaxPreps National Coaches of the Year
2014 – Gary McKnight, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
2013 – Quincy Lewis, Lone Peak (Highland, Utah)
2012 – Danny Henderson, Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas)
2011 – Bob Hurley, St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.)
2010 – Ed Azzam, Westchester (Los Angeles)