The Canyon del Oro Dorado Baseball program named Jason Hisey as its newest baseball coach last month, replacing longtime skipper Keith Francis.
Hisey previously coached at Pima Community College for seven seasons, posting a 196-188-1 record. Prior to his stint with the Aztecs, Hisey coached the Catalina Foothills Falcons from 1995 to 2005, as well as the Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks (where he posted a 38-25 record).
Hisey played college baseball at the University of Arizona and professionally in the minors in 1987 and ’88, and inherits a Dorados squad that went 21-10 a year ago, losing to Nogales in the state playoffs.
Tucson Local Media sat down with Hisey to break down his decision to return to the high school level, why he’s excited to lead the Dorados, and what it means to him to replace a coach like Keith Francis, who left to join the Pima staff as a volunteer assistant coach over the summer.
What does it mean to you to be the next baseball coach of Canyon del Oro High School?
It’s quite a responsibility. I’m excited about it. I think it’s one of the most storied baseball programs in the city, and I’m excited to be a part of it.
What are some of your goals for the program?
I think every coach back to Roger Werbylo has won a state championship. That would be an obvious goal. But just beyond the wins and the losses… to get back and coach baseball, to make a positive impact on young kids’ lives and to be able to share some of the knowledge that I have accumulated over 25, 30 years of playing and coaching the sport.
What have you enjoyed most about coaching at the high school level? How have your experiences from your time at Catalina Foothills and Ironwood Ridge contributed to your institutional knowledge as a head coach?
Well, I mean, the younger kids are more and more impressionable. I’ve found they’re a little easier to coach. They’re a little more receptive to coaching. College is really a lot about assembling. It’s about putting together a quality team. Putting together talent and then directing that talent. High school, you really could make a positive impact by being a good teacher and really bringing 14-, 15-, 16-, 17-year-old kids, you can see drastic improvement in four years if you stick with it and do things right. When I coached at Pima, we had a new team every year. Two-year junior college, so half your roster is gone every single year and it’s really about putting a team together versus developing a team. And that’s what I look forward to the most about the high school situation, is being able to really develop young baseball players, young high school student athletes, over assembling a team.
In your opinion, what’s special about baseball, particularly at the high school level, in the Tucson and the Southern Arizona area?
It’s still a tough grind to beat the Phoenix schools. I mean, it always has been. One of the few schools that’s been able to do it consistently is Canyon del Oro ... If you look at their track record over the last 30 or so years, they’ve had a lot of success on the state level. You go all the way back to [former CDO coaches] Roger Werbylo and Phil Wright, Kent Winslow, Keith Francis, Len Anderson. They’ve all had good success against Phoenix. Probably the one school here in southern Arizona that has had significant success against the Phoenix schools, so I’m looking forward to continuing that.
What does CDO’s baseball history mean to you? And what impact did that have on your decision to take the job?
It had a big impact. I mean, I don’t think there’s another job in Tucson, another high school job in Tucson, that I would have looked at. Next to Tucson High, it’s the most storied high school baseball program in Southern Arizona. There’s no question about it. And when I was coaching Catalina Foothills High School, we won a lot of games, played for some state championships, but I can still remember to this day our four victories against Canyon del Oro because Canyon del Oro was the standard. So, beating them, that’s almost more than winning 4A state championships.
What can fans and parents expect from you as a head coach? What can Dorado baseball fans expect from your tenure as head coach?
I’m going to be consistent. I’m going to be fair. We’re going to work extremely hard. And they can always expect the truth from me, no matter how hard that may be, sometimes.