Polacca — Mr. Fix It will be moving on from Hopi High School to Round Valley High School.
Russ Semore has become known as a football coach who takes a losing program and turns it around.
Semore, one of the most successful football coaches in northern Arizona, has resigned from Hopi High School to take the helm at Round Valley High School.
Semore said he is leaving Hopi High School, effective at the end of the school year, for the opportunity to go to a school in the 3A East. He added that the 3A East is probably the best football league in the state.
Semore spent two years at Hopi High after several years at Ganado High School.
During Semore’s first year, Hopi High’s football team posted a 7-2 record—its best record since moving up from 2A to 3A competition. During the past season,
Hopi had a 4-6 record, but still made it to the state playoffs.
“I’m proud that we made the state playoffs the past two years. For a school this size, it says a lot,” he said. “It’s about the determination of the kids. I’ll miss the kids the most. The kids did an outstanding job for me and they can be real proud of what they accomplished.”
Semore has a career coaching record of 126 wins and 45 losses.
Coach Semore said he hopes Hopi High finds a coach who cares about the success of the kids and will show it by putting in the time and effort to make the football program successful.
Semore said he appreciated the support that Superintendent Paul Reynolds, the rest of the administration and the school board gave him during his two years at Hopi High School.
“They made a real effort to bring Hopi to a respectable level in the 3A North competition,” he said.
Coach Semore said the majority of the community parents and youth have been positive about what they were trying to do.
Semore said he hopes he is leaving the football program in better shape then he found it.
“Our off-season program tripled in size, our weight program became consistent and our equipment is organized and ready to go,” he said.
Semore has also served as athletic director at Hopi High School, and believes this job also presents its own challenges.
“Athletic directors in the 3A North have a tough time getting everything done, so hopefully they’ll get someone with experience,” he said. “About 60 percent of the AIA’s (Arizona Interscholastic Association) income comes from the 3A North, so the athletic director needs to be someone whose willing to work with people on the state level to keep the league in the forefront that it has been in for the last 15 years.”
Semore will have his work cut out for him at Round Valley as the Elks’ football team won only two of nine games last year. But Semore has always taken on programs where the school had a losing record the previous season.
“I’ll work with them during the off season on their strength and speed,” he said.
Semore said Round Valley will need to approach each game with the realistic goal of what it needs to do to win. He added that it takes three or four years to turn a football program into a winner.
Semore has produced winning football teams 15 of his 17 years as a head high school football coach. He coached Ganado for 13 years with a two year interim spent at Winslow High School. Four of his Ganado teams finished undefeated.
Born in Oklahoma, Semore moved to Ganado as a teenager because his father Gordon taught at Ganado High School. Semore played football, basketball and baseball at Ganado High School.
He went on to earn a bachelor of science degree in physical education from
Northeastern Oklahoma University. He served in the Air Force before working as an assistant coach at two Oklahoma high schools.
He has a wife, Sheila, and two sons.
(Stan Bindell, former Observer editor, is journalism and radio teacher at Hopi High School.)