By MYLO ERICKSON
Although Pima Community College’s football team didn’t kick off its initial season until 2001, there was plenty of preparation under way in 2000.
Pima hired Sabino High School football coach Jeff Scurran, who led nationally ranked teams to state championships in 1990, ‘92 and ‘98.
Once at PCC, Scurran started conditioning and weight training classes to prepare potential players for football. About 80 students enrolled.
Although there were no facilities available, Pima administrators decided to base the football team at East Campus. Practices would be at nearby Lincoln Park.
Initial plans called for Pima to play home games on Santa Rita High School’s football field. Later, the program chose instead to play home games at different fields around the city as a way to build public interest.
Officials arranged for PCC to join the Western States Football League.
The division already had nine teams: Arizona Western College, Eastern Arizona College, Glendale Community College, Mesa Community College, Phoenix College, Scottsdale Community College, Dixie College (St. George, Utah), Snow College (Ephraim, Utah) and New Mexico Military Institute.
Since then, the league has dropped some teams and added others to bring its current total to 16 squads.
Facing a need to cut the team to 75 players before his inaugural season, Scurran established qualifications to make and stay on the football roster. Players needed full-time enrollment status and a grade point average of 2.0 or higher.
The present-day Pima website says student-athletes must:
• Be enrolled full time at Pima.
• Make satisfactory academic progress.
• Receive a medical clearance.
In 2000, Pima students were excited about football.
“It is good to hear that a football team is finally coming here,” Michael Grgich said in an Aztec Press article. “It is about time the school finally got one.”
Scurran led his team to victory in its first game against a ranked team in 2001, when Pima opened its season with a 28-20 win against defending national junior college champion Glendale Community College.
Pima also won a bowl game in 2004, defeating No. 2 Kilgore College in the Pilgrim’s Pride Bowl Classic, 10-7. It was considered a major upset.
At the time, PCC was ranked 13th in the country.