By: Richard Obert, azcentral sports | December 28, 2016
Ron Wisniewski confirmed in a text message that he is among the finalists for the Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep football coaching job.
Wisniewski was fired as head coach at Mesa Red Mountain after leading the Lions to the 6A Conference semifinals, and battling No.1-ranked Phoenix Mountain Pointe in a 21-14 decision.
Wisniewski was miffed at the firing after that surprising run, led by junior all-purpose back Lance Lawson.
Brent Barnes, who led Norman North to the Oklahoma 6A-I final and was named the Norman Transcript All-Area Coach of the Year, has been mentioned for the job, according to sources.
But Barnes said he hasn’t been interviewed and “isn’t part of the process.”
Barnes believes Notre Dame is potentially one of the top high school football coaching jobs in Arizona, but said his team is coming off the best season in school history, and “I’m happy where I’m at.”
Barnes had accepted the Notre Dame job when it was open two years ago, but, because of personal reasons, backed out. His father, Bobby Barnes, is a former Buckeye High head coach who helped out at Glendale Copper Canyon this past season.
University of Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops’ twin sons, Drake and Isaac, played for Barnes on this year’s Norman North team that went undefeated during the regular season. Norman North lost to Union 57-43 in the Oklahoma final.
Barnes was among two coaches who backed out of the Notre Dame job, before it went to Mark Nolan before the 2015 season.
Notre Dame went 8-2 this season, but was ineligible for the 5A Conference playoffs, because of an off-season conditioning and recruiting violations. Nolan was fired in the final week of the regular season, while the school fought to be taken off probation by the Arizona Interscholastic Association, but to no avail.
Other leading candidates appear to be former Phoenix Greenway head coach Mike Brown and Notre Dame freshman coach George Prelock. Brown served as offensive coordinator at Notre Dame under Nolan, and was interim head coach in the final game this past season.
Former Notre Dame Prep athlete Blair Tushaus, who is a graduate assistant at Nebraska, also appears to be in the mix. A three-sport athlete at Notre Dame, where he won state track titles in the shot put and discus, Tushaus played tight end at BYU and Arizona.
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