Winningest Arizona high school football coach Paul Moro dies

Photo: Tom Tingle/azcentral sports

Winningest Arizona high school football coach Paul Moro dies

Football

Winningest Arizona high school football coach Paul Moro dies

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Paul Moro, who won more high school football games than any Arizona high school football coach, died in his home on Saturday. He was 66.

Moro, who led Blue Ridge (Lakeside, Ariz.) to a state-record 13 state championships and later coached at Poston Butte and Marcos de Niza, was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer during the 2017 season.

Two days before Christmas, he suffered a major stroke that caused him to lose his ability to talk. He was moved to a rehab center in Mesa, before suffering a second stroke last week.

Moro was moved to his Gilbert home earlier this week, as family asked on Facebook for assistance on finding around-the-clock nursing care for him.

“It’s surreal,” said Mesa Desert Ridge coach Jeremy Hathcock, who was an All-State running back on three of Moro’s state championships at Blue Ridge in the late 1980s. “You think of this man as King Kong. He’s a guy who is young and was in good health his whole life.

“For this to happen, it’s shocking. It makes me realize how lucky I was to be coached by him. I got so much to say but I don’t know how to start. I can tell you he forever changed my life. I’m not just saying that. It’s put a huge responsibility on me. That’s what we’re in this life for, to change people’s lives. That’s what he did and a thousand other lives.”

Adam Moro, Paul’s son, announced his father’s passing on Facebook on Saturday night.

“Wanted to let Everyone know my dad passed away this afternoon. Thank you so much to everyone praying for him this whole time. Although this hurt is about unbearable, I speak for all us that we still trust in God’s will has a different plan,” Adam Moro wrote.

“For this to happen, it’s shocking. It makes me realize how lucky I was to be coached by him. I got so much to say but I don’t know how to start. I can tell you he forever changed my life. I’m not just saying that. It’s put a huge responsibility on me. That’s what we’re in this life for, to change people’s lives. That’s what he did and a thousand other lives.”

Adam Moro, Paul’s son, announced his father’s passing on Facebook on Saturday night.

“Wanted to let Everyone know my dad passed away this afternoon. Thank you so much to everyone praying for him this whole time. Although this hurt is about unbearable, I speak for all us that we still trust in God’s will has a different plan,” Adam Moro wrote.

Former Mesa, Phoenix Desert Vista, Phoenix Christian and Cesar Chavez football coach Jim Rattay, who has 332 career wins, became very close to Moro through the Christian Fellowship.

“He is my driving force to continue, because he taught me so much,” Rattay said in a text message Saturday night.

Moro, who had 336 wins in his career, wanted to coach last season, but Marcos de Niza decided not to renew his coaching contract after Moro decided he didn’t want to teach full-time anymore.

“It’s not the way I wished to end my career,” Moro told The Arizona Republic in April. “I feel bad for the kids. I don’t feel bad for me.”

Moro continued working with the Marcos de Niza players through spring football before giving up the position to new coach Eric Lauer took over.

Last spring, while working with the players, Moro told The Republic:

“People are like, ‘You’re crazy, they already fired you, why would you stay?’ But, see, I never coached for me. I’ve always coached for the kids. So I want to give them the best spring they can possibly have until they can hire another coach. It’s about the kids. It’s not about me. I’ll give up my time and everything. I love the kids. They love me.”

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