Originally Published: January 6, 2019 3:52 p.m.
Updated as of Sunday, January 6, 2019 10:10 PM
Kersting will call plays at Prescott; Collett ‘excited’ the longtime Glendale coach on board
PRESCOTT — Longtime junior college football coach and three-time national champion Joe Kersting has joined the Prescott football program as its next offensive coordinator, head coach Cody Collett announced Sunday morning.
“I’m thrilled about it, it will benefit our kids to be coached, in my opinion, by one of the best coaches in America, at any level,” Collett said in a phone interview Sunday. “As a head coach, I’m really excited about the opportunity to learn from him, as well as our team.”
Kersting, who went 115-43 at Glendale Community College and won national titles in 1988, 2000 (as an offensive coordinator) and 2005 with the Gauchos before stepping away in 2009, said he’s “very excited” for the opportunity to lead the Badger offense under Collett.
“I’ve stepped away from football on a few different occasions, each time with health issues. First it was my wife, then my mother, and most recently it was me,” Kersting said. “Now I’m healthy, feeling good and excited for the opportunity.”
Kersting retired from teaching at Glendale in 2018 and since he and his wife own a summer home in Prescott, the St. Louis, Missouri, native will arrive just in time to help the Badgers prepare for the 2019 fall season.
“I plan to come up this week, I’ll get a chance to meet the players,” said Kersting, who last coached at Arizona Christian University, an NAIA institution, in 2016.
He also plans to be on the field for spring football and for workouts this summer for the Badgers, which went 7-4 overall in 2018 and made the 4A state playoffs for the first time in 5 years.
“We’re really excited to have Joe on staff,” Prescott Athletic Director Missy Townsend said. “He’s phenomenal, we are so excited. He is a wealth of knowledge, and a good guy that cares about student athletes and puts them first. He’s the whole package.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
Three to 4 years ago, Kersting met Collett and the two have stayed in contact ever since. During that time, Kersting said he always told Collett that one day he’d retire in Prescott.
“I planted a seed with him, but I kind of forgot that I planted that seed, so when Cody called me 2 months ago, he asked if I was retired and interested in coaching again,” Kersting said with a laugh. “That sparked the conversation and I’ve decided to go for it.”
Kersting, who is a former assistant football coach at Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona, will take over the offensive play calling duties from Collett next season and plans to implement his system at Prescott.
“My system has a lot of similarities. Especially with blocking schemes. I have some different concepts in the passing game, but again, it gets back to what our quarterback can handle, our offensive line, our receivers,” Kersting said. “I’ve got a pretty good playbook system and background of experience … but you always want to keep tweaking.”
Collett said it will be Kersting’s offense.
“The offense will be his completely, it will free me up to be more of the head coach and work with the lineman, which is always something I’ve been passionate about,” Collett said.
When asked who the prospects are at quarterback for the Badgers in 2019, Collett said that’s up to Kersting.
“Quarterback, that’s going to be coach Kersting’s deal. He’ll decide that, but we have two or three guys in mind. [Kersting] has more expertise that I do, so I won’t micromanage,” Collett said.
ARIZONA JUCO FOOTBALL
Maricopa and Pima community colleges announced last summer that 2018 would be the last season for junior college football at their respective institutions.
Glendale, Scottsdale, Mesa, Phoenix and Pima community colleges have featured football programs for decades. Arizona Western College in Yuma announced it was eliminating football in December. Only Eastern Arizona College football remains.
“The whole JUCO thing has been disheartening for me, and I’m really upset they made the decision they did,” Kersting said. “You’re not just effecting Maricopa kids, but the entire state. The end of the Valley of the Sun bowl, a long standing tradition. So many things are being effected in a negative way.”
He continued, “The junior colleges were such a great opportunity to give young men who weren’t mature enough to get a chance at the next level. Sometimes it was academic, sometimes he just needed a few years to grow up.”
Kersting added that his No. 1 goal is to “have fun” in Prescott, and No. 2, he wants to positively influence young men.
“I want to teach them life lessons through football,” Kersting said. “Coaching is doing what you can to help a program reach its potential, and individual young men reach their potential.”
Brian M. Bergner Jr. is news/sports editor for The Daily Courier of Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and SoundCloud at @TheEditorDesk. Email email@example.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.