Stan Luketich, who founded the Phoenix Desert Vista high school baseball program in 1996, has been fired after 42 years of coaching and two state championships. According to Luketich, when he asked the administration for a reason he was told, “You do not effectively communicate with millennials.”
"On April 3,” Luketich told azcentral, “I was called into the athletic director's office and he said, ‘You need to seriously consider resigning at the end of the year.’ One week later, I met with the principal and the athletic director and they asked me to resign. Both times I said I would not resign."
In an email, athletic director T.J. Snyder wrote, "After much consideration about the future of the Desert Vista baseball program, a decision was made to go in a new direction. We thank Mr. Luketich for his service and wish him well."
However, this is not the final word for Luketich, who says he has other opportunities to coach. "I've had a couple of high school coaches talk to me and see if I'd join their program," he said. "I love working with kids. If I choose to do that, I would love to do that again."
Before serving as head coach at Moon Valley, Luketich worked as an assistant coach under the late Earl Putman for 14 years. He led Moon Valley to the state championship games in 1989 before founding the program at Desert Vista, where he led the team to three consecutive championship games in 1999 - 2001.
After hearing the news, Phoenix Horizon coach Eric Kibler emailed azcentral on his behalf. "Most of these situations come from disgruntled parents," he wrote. "Administrators need to communicate better with coaches and have their backs."
"Stan is one of the best human beings I have ever met. He stands for what is right in our profession. His values and standards need to be supported,” said Kibler.