Fathers and sons bond on Arizona football fields
They were high school football teammates. State champions. They went their own way in the 1990s after graduating from Mesa Mountain View.
They stayed in touch, became coaches, dads, and teamed up again as coaches. Now they are shaping their sons on the football pitch, navigating the delicate balance between father and son, coach and player.
It can be a difficult love. It can get difficult. But, in the end, football formed a bond that keeps them connected to their sons.
Mountain View head coach Joe Germaine and Travis Schureman, who runs the Queen Creek football program, are among many Arizona coaches who have a son playing on their teams.
Jack Germaine is the starting quarterback, preparing for his junior season at Mountain View. Griffin Schureman is a two-way starting lineman at Queen Creek, preparing for his senior season.
Sunday being Father’s Day is special. But on the soccer fields, for fathers and sons, it’s Father’s Day every day. The land serving as a training ground for life.
“We try to separate the two,” Joe Germaine said of the dynamic of being both Jack’s father and coach. “But in general there is such a teaching moment every day in football which I think benefits life.”
Nothing is given, everything is gained
Last year, when Joe Germaine took over his alma mater’s football program, the pressure came with work. Toro Nation has been blessed with the successes of its first two head coaches, Jesse Parker and Bernie Busken. Between the two, Mountain View has won seven state big-school championships, including 1993 when Joe Germaine was Parker’s quarterback and Travis Schureman helped anchor the line.
When Joe took over as coach of Toros, he didn’t just hand the starting quarterback job over to his son. Jack has gradually acclimatized after undergoing reconstructive double knee surgery over the previous two years.
But by mid-season, it was clear that Jack had what it took to lead the Toros. He ended up completing 124 of 180 passes without throwing an interception and shooting 22 touchdown passes, as the Toros went 8-3 and reached the 6A playoffs.
“It’s been a pretty smooth transition having him as my high school coach,” Jack said. “A good mentor. Not only is he good on the pitch, but he’s a good example off the pitch.”
Now the pressure falls on Jack, who realizes his father’s footballing legacy not only at Mountain View, but what he did at Ohio State, then reaching the NFL and winning a Super Bowl ring as a substitute for Kurt Warner with the St. Louis Rams.
“I kind of play my game and do my thing, but, yeah, at the end of the day, there are big shoes to fill,” Jack said.
‘The best of both worlds’
Griffin Schureman started on both the offensive and defensive line for his father’s Queen Creek team that made it to the Open Division state playoffs. Travis knows how precious every day is on the court with his son.
“It was fun,” Travis said. “It’s been a great honor to have him with me in the camps since he was little. We’ve kind of grown on the pitch together. It’s surreal to see him enter his final year now, it’s kinda the loop.”
Griffin and Jack became close growing up, watching Queen Creek football games when Joe and Travis ran the Bulldogs program together.
Griffin said it was tough playing for his dad, but he calls it “the best of both worlds.”
“He pushes you to do your best,” Griffin said.
During a midweek 7-on-7 competition at Bell Bank Park in Southeast Mesa, the four teams involved – Eastmark, Skyline, Queen Creek and Mountain View – had fathers who coached their sons in football .
Skyline freshman coach Adam Schiermyer, who was Eastmark coach Scooter Molander’s offensive coordinator last season, has a few more years to go before coaching his son in high school. Crew Schiermyer, now in seventh grade, plans to one day play for his dad at Skyline.
Adam has been coaching his son’s youth games since he was 6 years old.
“I don’t think there’s a lot of pressure with that (the son playing for his dad),” Adam said. “I want to be a supportive dad no matter what. Whether he wants to be in the squad or play football, I will support whatever decision he wants to make. Whatever his passion, I want to give him the tools to be successful in anything.”
Molander’s son Mack, who missed the first five games last season after being traded from Queen Creek, will start his senior season at quarterback at Eastmark. He started at Queen Creek, wanting to prove he can win the job without his father coaching him.
But last year he felt the transition to coaching by his dad was worth it.
“He’s been pretty good at separating dad and coach,” Mack said. “At home, it’s just my dad.
“Sometimes he’s tough on me. But I’m able to communicate with him and with my teammates, and it’s falling into place.”
As a former quarterback, Scooter can have long chalk talks with his son. But there are limits to this.
“What I like and our rule is that when we get in the car in the morning to drive to Eastmark I can talk about football until we get home and walk through that door and come home at the end of the day,” Scooter said. “So I’m not allowed to talk about football.
“If he wants to talk to me about it, that’s fine. That’s how we separate him. But this time together is very special.”
But there are no special privileges in the field for his son.
“He knows I will and have done it and has consistently jumped the queue in front of players, even more than I would anyone else,” Scooter said. “Clearly no one gets preferential treatment. He knew that.”
Scooter said making things easier for his son, spoiling him and filling his head with constant praise wouldn’t help him later in life.
“That doesn’t help, because if you’re thinking about taking it to the next level to get a job, good luck,” Scooter said.
“Me and My Shadow”
Roy Lopez, in his second year leading the Mesa Desert Ridge football program, coached his son Roy III in high school at Tempe Marcos de Niza and Gilbert Mesquite, before graduating in 2016. He’s a dad proud, seeing his son go to the NFL, playing on the Houston Texans defensive line as a rookie last year.
“It was like ‘Me and my shadow,'” Lopez said. “He was at every big man challenge, every 7-on-7 event, every lifting event. He was like my assistant. And now to see him at the ultimate level is amazing.”
Lopez said he knew it was stressful for his son.
“It’s difficult for the coach’s son,” Roy said. “Either you’re a dog or you know… Daddy’s ball comes into play.”
“There are a lot of emotions as a head coach.”
Lopez recalled all the fathers who have led their sons over the years, whether in football, basketball, baseball or wrestling, including the legacy Glenn McMinn left at Apache Junction, coaching his son.
Charlie Webb coached his son, David, at Phoenix Camelback baseball and watched him grow to success as a baseball head coach in Tempe Corona del Sol.
“It’s definitely a different animal,” Lopez said. “It’s a blessing. And it can be difficult. Not so much of a detriment, but it can be difficult for these kids, being the coach’s boy. they’ve pretty much lived it all their lives.”
For 13 years at Desert Ridge, Jeremy Hathcock led the Jaguars to great success. Along the way, he raised three sons who played for him.
His second son, Alec, is now his defensive coordinator at Lakeside Blue Ridge, where Jeremy is entering his second year at the helm of the program.
Her eldest son Ryan graduated from Desert Ridge in 2011.
His youngest son, Koby, is now the Iowa State long snapper. He was his father’s Swiss army knife.
As they grew up playing junior football, Jeremy made sure he never missed a game. As they ran through the halls of Desert Ridge, Jeremy had his eye on them. With the help of others.
“It was a real community,” Jeremy said. “When you get to coach three of them… One is special. But three is great. Each of them I learned something. The first one, him and I just started talking.
“The middle one, in the middle of the year, I think he was tired of me. And the last one, I learned not to train him and let everyone train him and be a dad. C is what I loved.”
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