There are some changes going on with the high school at 17th Avenue and Indian School Road in Phoenix.
Phoenix Christian High School now is Phoenix Christian Prep.
And the Cougars have a new football coach.
Stefan Demos is well known in the Valley, having been a football and soccer star at Phoenix Horizon, and later a kicker and punter at Northwestern and a kicker in the Arena Football League.
Now he is entirely focused on Phoenix Christian, having been hired in the spring.
He was serving as special-teams and wide receivers coach at Plano East High just outside of Dallas, one of the largest schools in a large state. He also taught and coached at a nearby middle school.
Demos read about the Phoenix Christian job opening (former coach Brandon Harris now is coaching in Florida). He thought he would apply, did so and, what do you know? Here he is.
Although he is back home, Demos faces a culture shock, football-wise.
Plano East, a Class 6A school, has about 65 seniors on its roster. That doesn’t count the underclassmen.
At Phoenix Christian, Demos will have between 25 to 40 players total come out, including freshmen. The Cougars play at the Division III level.
But it is a challenge he is more than willing and happy to accept.
Demos heard all about Phoenix Christian’s long tradition when he was Horizon. For two years, his coach was Keith Brown, formerly the coach at PC. Demos always remembered that.
“I’m not here to rebuild the wheel, but build on the foundation and tradition,’’ Demos said.
He led PC through spring practice and was encouraged by how receptive the players were to what he wants to do.
PC participated in some passing competitions, including a recent showing against some of the bigger schools at Phoenix Brophy Prep.
“I think it (summer work) is good for us. We are learning some basic concepts and I think we are making a lot of progress,’’ Demos said.
At Plano East, Demos was involved in a four-wide, shotgun up-tempo offense, but won’t be able to do nearly that much here because of the numbers. That’s OK – he and his coaching staff will adjust. He will have some holdovers from Harris’ staff and a few guys he knew from his Horizon days.
“We have a good mix,’’ Demos said.
He also can draw on the coaching experience and how to deal with athletes from his father, Harry, who coached him in soccer for much of his life and currently is head boys soccer coach at Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor.
“On offense, we are going to try to be balanced and keep it simple,’’ Demos said. “We will probably try to run the ball some and use play-action (passing).
“Defensively, we will be disciplined and very sound.’’
Demos brings a strong resume to PC. He was an Academic All-American at Northwestern and was an All-Big Ten kicker as a junior. He has a degree in communication studies and a minor in business institutions.
Isn’t this the type of guy you want to root for, to lead your student-athletes in the right way both on and off the field?
At Phoenix Christian, this just might be a change for the better.