COOLIDGE — Just like he does at every practice, Dave Glasgow spent several hours Friday running non-stop drills. His Coolidge boys basketball players were out of breath after moving from 3-point shooting to rim protection to five-man fast breaks. It was the first of two practices that day, following a week where there were nine.
Unbeknownst to Glasgow, an hour north in Phoenix, a small group was deciding that all this practice was for naught, at least when it comes to competition. The Arizona Scholastic Association’s executive board voted 5-4 to cancel the entire winter sports season, which includes basketball, soccer and wrestling.
The board followed the recommendations of the AIA’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, which cited Arizona’s standing as the largest COVID-19 hotspot in the country, and hospital capacity being above 90% in both intensive care units and total inpatient beds.
After PinalCentral informed Glasgow of the decision, he shook his head and stood in silence before calling his players together in the center of the court. He sat them all down and shared the news, expressing his disappointment and apologizing to them for not being able to prove themselves on the court after months of hard work.
He then vowed to his players that however often they are willing to come work out and practice, he would be there to help them out and organize scrimmages. It was up to them how often they wanted to do that. That evening’s four-quarter scrimmage, in any case, would go on after the players strongly showed their support.
“It just came as a huge shock,” Glasgow said afterward. “They’ve done everything I’ve asked. They’ve bought into a culture based on hard work.”
Glasgow expressed his hope that the AIA’s executive board would reconsider its position, and potentially play basketball alongside the spring sports, since most schools don’t use the gym during that time.
Whether he gets his wish is still up in the air. The AIA scheduled an emergency meeting on Tuesday to possibly reassess its decision.
Glasgow expressed his frustration for his seniors, especially the ones who want to pursue basketball at the college level. But as a coach in his first year back in charge of the program, he was also concerned about what effect this would have on the development of the younger players.
One of those seniors is Nick Harrison, a sharpshooting star who had already missed his entire junior year due to a knee injury. He said when there were rumbling earlier about the winter season being in danger of cancellation, he and his family pondered what steps he should take next, including transferring to a prep school that is still playing basketball. But he wanted to stay in Coolidge and see things out with his teammates.
Now, though, everything is on the table.
“I have to figure out what’s the next move,” Harrison said. “Probably prep school, but I don’t know yet. That was one of the options, but I wanted to stay here because I’ve played all four years here.”
Harrison at least has options to fall back on, as he said he has already received offers to play at Benedictine University in Mesa, Humboldt State University in California and Perdue University Northwest in Indiana.
Whatever he decides to do, fresh off the AIA’s decision he was sad about the lost potential his Coolidge team had. Glasgow said he really believed they could have made the state semifinals this season, and Harrison agreed.
“We were going to be one of the top contenders, an underrated team,” Harrison said. “We had a lot of chemistry coming into this year, and we got a new coach coming in who knows what he’s talking about. Everybody got better.”