Steve Belles, calling it “a new chapter,” is returning to his roots.
Finding the climate and situation much cooler in Utah, the former Chandler Hamilton head football coach said he has taken on an assistant coaching position and teaching job at Juan Diego Catholic High School in Draper, Utah. The school is located about 15 miles south of Salt Lake City.
Belles, who led Hamilton to five state championships as head coach from 2006-16, was placed on home reassignment and had his football coaching duties taken away in the spring of 2017 because of a hazing scandal.
Chandler police recommended to the county that Belles, Principal Ken James and Athletic Director Shawn Rustad be charged for not properly reporting incidents of sexual assault.
In February, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery decided not to file charges against the three men, because of a lack of cooperation from witnesses with firsthand knowledge.
Belles played high school football at Phoenix St. Mary’s in the 1980s, and when he returned from his college football playing career at Notre Dame, he began cutting his coaching teeth at his alma mater under Pat Farrell.
“I’m trying to get back to it, get back to coaching,” Belles said on Monday.
Belles said he was on his way to interview for a position at East High in Salt Lake City (a powerhouse program that Scottsdale Saguaro lost to last season), before winding up at Juan Diego, where one of the first players he coached is an assistant.
On his way over, Belles called Sam Salts, a former St. Mary’s High standout, who is an assistant coach at the juggernaut Juan Diego program that won the last three 3A Utah state championships with John Colosimo as head coach.
Salts told Belles to send his resume to Juan Diego. He got the job.
Belles was The Arizona Republic’s Football Player of the Year his senior year in 1984, when he led St. Mary’s to the state championship as a quarterback.
Belles said he will be coaching quarterbacks and defensive backs at the Utah Catholic school. He added that he will be a Social Studies teacher there.