Mountain Pointe High School is recommending that Duane Eason be approved by the Tempe Union High School District Governing Board as head boys basketball coach and English teacher.
Eason has 17 years of experience coaching basketball at the high school, club and college levels. Currently he serves as assistant men’s basketball coach for Phoenix College. Most of his experience has been in New Jersey, where he helped develop state-ranked players.
Coach Eason said he's impressed by the amount of talent he already sees at Mountain Pointe and looks forward to bringing the team together and taking the program to a new level.
“A big part of my success has been because my guys have stuck together. It’s important to create that brotherhood and family bond and build a lot of trust and togetherness off the court and on,” said Eason. “It’s about us, the ‘we not me’ mentality.”
Eason often merges his love for literature with basketball, sharing stories, lines and dialogues, with his players. One of his favorite quotes is from a Rudyard Kipling poem: “For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” He’s already compiling a new batch of inspirational quotes to share with the Pride.
Eason credits his own 11th grade English teacher with igniting his spirit to succeed in the classroom. She had kicked him out of class with the words, ‘All you athletes are the same. If you’re not challenged, you don’t perform.”
That one sentence fueled his competitive fire to return to class, challenge himself, and earn an “A.” After graduation, he went back and told Ms. Caruso that she had inspired him to become an English teacher.
“Ms. Caruso showed me how to be a competitor in the academic world. My passions for teaching and coaching go hand in hand. I want to be the best English teacher and for my students to have the highest scores,” he said. “I love the challenge of explaining Othello or another piece of literature in ways that students who think they don’t care about it or don’t understand it, can make a connection,” he said.
Coach Eason earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from New Jersey City University, where he also played a year of basketball. Prior to that he played baseball on a full athletic scholarship at Troy State University and was drafted three times by Major League Baseball teams - the San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros.
The next meeting of the TUHSD Governing Board is March 22, 2017.