By Cuyler Meade
Chad DeGrenier knows the road to success isn’t necessarily paved.
“You know anything in life, there’s always a bump in the road,” DeGrenier said to Sports360AZ.com in a recent interview. “Nothing is perfect. So I had a little bump in my second job, but we did a lot of great things that I’m proud of, and I’m really excited about this opportunity.”
At his last job at Mountain View, DeGrenier had good seasons and not-so-good seasons. But he’s able to see success in the struggle.
“The reality is when I came to Mountain View, we had 12 seniors my first year,” DeGrenier said. “And so there’s been a lot of growth in the five years I’ve been here from the standpoint of kids in the program, and kids having a good experience. Our numbers have gone up, and the last three years, we’ve had 30-plus seniors every year. So that I’m excited about and proud of. The things that I’ve learned is keep doing what you’re doing, the wins will come.”
Now the new coach at Mesquite, DeGrenier has a chance at a fresh start with a team he sees as athletic and hungry. But in doing so, he’s got big shoes to fill. Jim Jones, the legendary former Red Mountain coach, stepped down from his position as head varsity coach after last season, citing family reasons involving the estate of his late father. He’ll still be on campus and involved with the program, but it will be a challenge for DeGrenier to replace the coach who led Mesquite to an 11-2 season in his first year with the program.
“Obviously Jim Jones is awesome,” DeGrenier said. “He’ll be on staff, he’ll help coach the freshmen. Jim is awesome, we’ve had lots of conversations, he’s a good man, so I’m going to work with him. I think it’s very similar, I respect what he’s done over the course of his career and hopefully I can have the success moving forward that I had early in my career towards the end of my career.”
DeGrenier is confident he can bring that success to Mesquite.
“I’m excited because there’s really good kids at Mesquite.” DeGrenier said. “Good athletes. And I have a little different wrinkle than what they’ve been doing in the past offensively so I think that will help. I’m just excited to get over there and win football games.”
That wrinkle is the spread offense (Mesquite ran the Wing-T last year), which DeGrenier said Mesquite will pass and run out of. Excited about the size of the linemen he sees coming back to the program from last year, DeGrenier felt particularly confident that Mesquite would be able to move the ball on the ground out of the spread.
DeGrenier will also bring an off-the-field element that he instituted his final year at Mountain View. It’s something he learned from the folks in Tempe.
“We adopted something that ASU does from the standpoint of a leadership council,” DeGrenier said of the Sun Devils’ program of having elected captains have a voice with the coaching staff. “Having kids have a buy in on what’s going on in the program, teaching them how to have a voice, the chain of command, so they feel like they’re part of the decision making process. They have ownership over the program and it’s not just my way or the highway.”
In the end, DeGrenier has two main goals.
“We want to win and have fun,” Degrenier said. “Doing it that way I learned a lot last year. I saw the fruits of that and I’m definitely going to continue doing that through the course of my career.”