As a student at Sahuaro, Rick McConnell was always a respected leader amongst his peers. He epitomized exceptional behavior, never causing trouble and never having a bad word to say about anyone. Around Rick there was always a positive “vibe” because he wouldn’t allow negativity. Through all of his numerous athletic achievements at Sahuaro, Rick always redirected the spotlight from himself to his team and teammates.
Rick was an outstanding all-around athlete. He started for the varsity basketball team for three years, coached by his father, Dick McConnell. All three years, Rick received All City honors, and in his senior year was chosen for the 1st string All City team. In 1973, Rick was instrumental in leading the Cougars to the State Semi-Finals.
Rick also played for the varsity baseball team as starting shortstop. The Cougars were State Baseball Champions in both 1973 and 1974, with Rick being named 1st Team All State Shortstop by the Arizona Republic in 1974. Upon graduation from Sahuaro High School, Rick earned a baseball scholarship to the University of Arizona. In 1976, Rick was on the Wildcat NCAA Championship team.
After graduation from college, Rick followed in his father’s footsteps as a teacher and assistant basketball coach at Sahuaro, helping the Cougars win their second state basketball championship in 1982. Rick then spent one year as a teacher and assistant basketball coach under Buddy Doolen at Mesa’s Westwood High School. After one year at Westwood, at the ripe old age of 27, he was hired as a social studies teacher and head basketball coach at Mesa’s Dobson High School where he remains today. h12011, Rick obtained his 500th career coaching victory. Between them, father and son, the McConnells have over an astonishing 1300 career wins.
Rick, and his wife Pam, have two sons. Like his father Dick McConnell, Rick has had the opportunity to coach both sons, Matt and Mickey. Matt McConnell is an assistant coach at Citrus Community College in California. Mickey has been playing pro-basketball in Italy. Clearly, the McConnell legacy of teaching and coaching continues.