One of Sam Messina’s last responsibilities as athletic director at Scottsdale Chaparral was to find a baseball coach.
Troy Gerlach was hired away from Phoenix Arcadia.
Now Messina was hired by Phoenix Pinnacle of the Paradise Valley Unified School District to be its next baseball coach, after stepping down at Chaparral.
Messina, who stepped down as Chaparral’s baseball coach in 2017 to devote time as an administrator, replaces Roy Muller, who retired at the end of last season.
Messina said he will be a teacher at Pinnacle, walking away form the higher-paying administrative duties he had at Chaparral.
“I missed it tremendously,” Messina said about coaching. “I was at Chaparral for 12 years. I had an awesome experience. They gave me a great opportunity. Our principal, Mr. (Todd) Dreifort, was awesome to work for. I just missed the field and being around kids.”
Messina made Chaparral’s baseball transition from legendary coach Jerry Dawson seamless, leading the Firebirds to back-to-back state championships in his first two years in 2011 and ’12.
Messina was an assistant under Dawson for three years before taking over after Dawson retired in 2010 with 773 wins and eight state championships.
Muller, who was a longtime head coach at Paradise Valley before taking over at Pinnacle, won his 700th career game during his last season in the spring.
Pinnacle is one of the top baseball programs in the state. It reached the state final in 2017, before losing to Chandler Hamilton 6-4.
Last season, the Pioneers went 16-10.
“I was in a great position,” Messina said. “Being AD over there, the way I was treated, it was fantastic. I feel we made a great hire with Troy Gerlach. I wanted to make sure we took care of that program. Now I have an opportunity to come back into coaching.”
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