Dust Devils head coach Terry Staggs (middle) is flanked by assistant coaches Nick Economou (left) and Mark Ruckle (right) after River Valley beat Seton Catholic 43-12 at Maricopa High School in the semifinals on Nov. 23.


BULLHEAD CITY — Terry Staggs handed in his resignation, which ended his second two-year stint as River Valley High School’s head football coach.

“My highlight was working with all of the great kids we had — watching them grow,” Staggs said. “The coaches I worked with were awesome to work with.”

River Valley Principal Bud Scully said Staggs used his staff well.

“The fact that he brought in the right guys to help him, Paul  Duchaineau and Mark Ruckle, to help him,” Scully said. “He did a good job utilizing his assistants and a lot of coaches don’t do that.”

Staggs’ Dust Devils stampeded through the Arizona Interscholastic Association State Football Championships before falling to the Blue Ridge High School Yellowjackets 17-7 in the finals last season.

“He’s done a really good job keeping those kids on track and motivated,” Scully said. “They had a good summer program and did a lot of work during the summer.”

The Dust Devils finished the season 12-2 in 2013, and it was the first time the River Valley football program earned a spot in the state finals in its 20-plus year history.

“That’s what made this decision so tough, knowing we had a lot of those kids coming back and they’d be a year strong,” Staggs said.

He said he has three children living in Texas, and he wants to be closer to them.

Staggs was River Valley’s head football coach during the 2008-09 seasons after former head coach Barry Bower resigned, and Staggs compiled a 4-6 record in 2008 and was 3-7 in 2009.

Bower returned to River Valley as head football coach in 2010, but Bower resigned following the 2011 season.

Staggs was Bower’s offensive coordinator during the 2010-11 seasons, and Staggs took the reins back from Bower to become River Valley’s head football coach during the 2012-13 seasons.

The Dust Devils finished 8-4, advancing to the state quarterfinals before losing to Blue Ridge 49-0 in 2012.

When asked what was the difference between his first stint and the second one while at the helm at River Valley, Stagg said: “I learned a lot when Barry Bower came back; I learned what to do and what not to do.”

Staggs’ record was 7-13 during his first stint and was 20-6 during his second one.

“Winning is better,” Staggs said. “The things that we did we didn’t change much from the first into the second. It just takes time to build a program.”

Stagg is Mohave High School alumnus. He was a starting offensive/defensive lineman for the T-birds from 1990-93 and earned all-state honors after his junior and senior seasons.

After graduating high school, Staggs was a scholarship athlete at the University of Wyoming. He played offensive line for the Cowboys from 1995-2000, as he was a red shirt one season.

Following his college career, Staggs coached in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Houston for eight years before returning to the Tri-state to coach River Valley.

Former Dust Devils defensive end Angelo Martell, who will be graduating in a few weeks and played for Staggs during his junior and senior seasons, complimented his former head coach. 

“He was good at what he did,” Martell said. “He loves the game and wanted nothing more than to make us state champions. 

“Through all the dedication and motivational experiences and what he put us through was unbelievable. 

“River Valley is used to losing head coaches by now. I know River Valley will miss him, but I also know River Valley will overcome this and come together as the strong disciplined team River Valley is.”

Scully said River Valley will hire its next coach from within the program — “hopefully by Friday.”

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