HomeFootballZak Hill steps down as Saguaro football coach to join ALA Gilbert...

Zak Hill steps down as Saguaro football coach to join ALA Gilbert North


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Zak Hill has stepped down as head football coach at Scottsdale Saguaro to become an administrator at American Leadership Academy Gilbert North.

Hill said he notified his players on Monday morning about the move.

In his only season as head coach, he led Saguaro to the 2023 6A state championship, after a season filled with injuries that derailed the team playing one of the toughest schedules in the state.

The Sabercats didn’t make the Open for the first time, but got it together in time to make a four-game playoff run that culminated with a dominant performance over Mesa Red Mountain in the 6A championship game.

Hill said he will be part of the athletic director duties with Jeff Oliverson, who left ALA Queen Creek to become that AD. Hill said will also help out Ty Detmer, who left ALA Queen Creek as head football coach to lead the ALA Gilbert North football program.

Hill said ALA Gilbert North is much closer to home for him. He said it was a 40-minute drive to Saguaro High School in Scottsdale.

“A lot of reasons,” Hill said. “It doesn’t make it easy with players and coaches here. But timing. You never know when opportunities are going to come.”

ALA reached out to Hill, who was part of Randy Ricedoff’s staff in 2022, when the Eagles won their first 4A state title, before moving up last year to 5A. Hill had been the offensive coordinator at Arizona State and Boise State.

Detmer left ALA Queen Creek last week to transition over as head coach at ALA Gilbert North after head coach and Athletic Director Ricedorff was let go.

ALA has been in the midst of major shakeups since Ricedorff’s departure. Joe Germaine last week was hired away from his alma mater, Mesa Mountain View, to start the newest ALA charter school in Mesa, where he’ll be the head football coach and athletic director.

Rich Edwards, who led ALA Queen Creek to prominence in the 2010s, leading the Patriots to their last state title in 3A in 2019, returns as the head coach at the Queen Creek school with Detmer moving over to ALA GN.

“I still think there’s going to be more transition stuff over there,” Hill said. “I just have to be sensitive to what’s happening over there.”

To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at richard.obert@arizonarepublic.com or 602-316-8827. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter:@azc_obert

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