Print Owens looking to turn program around quickly
Written by Brian Bergner   
Friday, 18 November 2011 00:00

The past seven seasons for the Mingus Union High School boys basketball program have been difficult to bear for its fans, and its players, but brighter times are ahead.

Clancy Odegard, a junior on the team, takes a shot during practice Tuesday, Nov. 15.Over the summer, Mingus Athletic Director Mike Boysen searched high and low for a new basketball coach, a guy that was willing to literally pull the Marauders basketball program off the ground and bring it back to respectability.

He found 30-year-old Mark Owens, an administrative assistant for the Drake University men’s basketball program, who agreed to become Mingus’ new history teacher and its new basketball coach in August.

“The group I’ve inherited in general doesn’t have a lot of firepower from last year. Right now, we’re looking to create a basketball identity and hopefully the boys will enjoy taking pride in the process,” Owens said.

Owens, who is originally from Elmira, Calif., taught and coached basketball at Tempe High School straight out of college in 2003.

As fate would have it, the last time Mingus made the state playoffs was 10 years ago during the 2001-2002 season. Mingus lost to Tempe in the first round of the 4A conference state tournament, 68-66.

Since that fateful day in February 2002, however, Mingus basketball flew south for the winter and hasn’t returned.

Beginning from the start of the 2004-2005 campaign, the Marauders have a 59-118 overall record. One of the worst seasons came last year when Mingus finished 3-21 overall, leading to the resignation of Head Coach Scott Sanderlin after three years on the job.

Sanderlin was 19-55 overall during his time with Mingus, while Craig Mai, the head coach before Sanderlin, was 40-63 in his four seasons at the helm. Mai resigned after the 2007-2008 season, leading Mingus to hire Sanderlin.

Mingus graduated seven seniors in May including top players like Erick Quesada, Carlos Sandoval, Daniel Martinez and Jose Gonzalez.

Top returners for the Marauders this season include seniors Luke Sanders, Evan McFarland and Sergio Romero along with juniors Clancy Odegard, Sam Johnson and Tyler Herndon.

Mingus opens its 2011-2012 regular season schedule on the road this year, taking a trip south to Wickenburg High School on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

The Marauders are scheduled to participate in the inaugural Red Rock Hoops Classic, set to begin Thursday, Dec. 1. The tournament is hosted by rival Sedona Red Rock High School.

Mingus will return home Tuesday, Dec. 6, to host Payson High School. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Marauders have eight home games this season including rival Flagstaff High School on Tuesday, Dec. 20.

Other notable home games include Camp Verde High School on Thursday, Jan. 19, and against Sedona on Thursday, Feb. 2. More than likely, the game against the Scorpions will be Mingus’ senior night.