Desert Mountain (Scottsdale, Arizona) football coach putting team through culture change

Photo: Darryl Webb/For the Republic

Desert Mountain (Scottsdale, Arizona) football coach putting team through culture change


Desert Mountain (Scottsdale, Arizona) football coach putting team through culture change


Nothing is going to be easy, and nobody will be immune to Conrad Hamilton’s ire when things aren’t going the way he likes.

It is Hamilton’s brashness, his swagger, his no-nonsense style that has made him successful since he arrived in Scottsdale as a defensive coordinator under Charlie Ragle during Scottsdale Chaparral’s football heyday.

He was defensive coordinator for two of Chaparral’s state championship teams.

Now he’s got the ultimate task of trying to changed Desert Mountain’s mindset from meandering through a 3-7 2018 season to making these guys believe they can not only compete with anybody but beat anybody.

Desert Mountain new head coach Conrad Hamilton directs his team during a practice Aug 6, 2019 in Scottsdale, Ariz. (Darryl Webb/For the Republic) (Photo: Darryl Webb/For the Republic, Darryl Webb)

It’s not as if Hamilton can suddenly turn 200-pound linemen into 300-pound behemoths overnight. But he’s got their attention, going over detail after detail — whether it’s a  walk-through on the field or in chalk talk in a classroom.

It’s about infusing a mental toughness.

“It’s just a big culture change from last year,” senior two-way lineman Grant Cohen said.

Senior defensive end James Stark said said he likes the intensity.

“The whole team responded to him,” senior outside linebacker/running back Bret Narveson said.

Senior defensive end Michael Anderson said it was “definitely something we needed.”

When Hamilton came to Desert Mountain in the spring, his voice was heard immediately. He demands hard work, toughness, a physicality that won’t let opponents feel they can come in and walk all over them.

Since then, Hamilton has got them learning new plays, schemes, terminology, and discipline.

“He is really teaching us football and understanding schematically things that are going on,” Stark said.

Hamilton even brought in former Arizona State head coach Todd Graham recently to talk to the players.

Hamilton spent a year working with Graham at ASU, before returning to Chaparral, where he helped out Thomas Lewis for a year.

When Lewis left, Chaparral went not only outside the program for the first time since Ragle left after a third straight state title in 2011 to become a college assistant coach, it went outside of the state to find its new coach.

Brent Barnes came in from Oklahoma last year to take over the Chaparral program.

Read the Arizona Republic for more!


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