Just days before Yancey DeVore’s first day as a world studies teacher at Mingus Union High School in 2004, he learned that he had to teach a class to freshmen called “decisions.”
He was not too sure what that class would entail and what he would have to teach. During the last 13 years DeVore has made a few decisions on the Marauders campus, the most recent being to apply for the athletic director position after Allen Mitchell stepped down for a more administrative role. He was approved for the position by the school board at its June 28 meeting.
And this time around DeVore has a better idea of what he is getting into, and what he wants to accomplish.
“I want to try to bring all of our sports together and I want to work with building a little bit more pride, having some more Mingus pride in what were doing here as far as athletics,” DeVore said. “All the way down to the athletes I want them to have pride in what they’re doing.”
One of the short-term goals he has in mind is to start a club for the captains of each team. They would meet monthly to connect, establish bonds and support one another.
More than just attending one another’s games, DeVore talked about the mantra of pursuing victory with honor. He would like to see captains have the opportunity to speak to their teammates about common themes and famous quotes in sports.
The end goal is to have that aforementioned sense of pride reach from the field and gym into the rest of the student body and beyond.
“Hopefully that permeates into the hallways in a positive way that encourages others to not only join teams but come out and support Mingus athletics,” DeVore said. “If we can start with the captains of the teams and then it permeates into the rest of the Mingus culture then hopefully it permeates into the community.”
DeVore is conscious that it will take time for that pride to establish itself and grow, but also recognizes the support that the rest of the staff is already showing.
“The administration is on board with trying to cultivate Mingus pride from within,” DeVore said. “I have a very supportive staff that’s here ... I have all the confidence in the world knowing I can go to anyone of them and they can help me with whatever the need is.”
He said it was a job that he has always thought about taking before the opportunity even came up. He will step away from coaching to focus on his new role as a teacher and administrator.
“Prior to this being open I had looked at what I needed to do to become an athletic director,” DeVore said. “And literally this job just kind of came up and I applied for it.”
At the same time he became a teacher at Mingus, DeVore was a freshman football and baseball coach. With the passing of the years he moved up the ladder. He became head junior varsity baseball coach and head freshman football coach, which inherently made him a varsity assistant, too.
When his son Keenan, now a junior at Northern Arizona University, entered high school he was running track but there was no head track and field coach. So the Mayer native took on that role as well.
But before stepping on campus in 2004, he had to make other decisions. DeVore was a three-sport athlete at Mayer High School, where he played football, basketball and baseball.
He went to Eastern Arizona Community College and played football, but then transferred to Northern Arizona University and stopped playing. In 1997 he graduated with a criminal justice degree and became a Flagstaff police officer.
After three years, though, he went into Christian ministry. During that year, he decided to go into teaching and got a post baccalaureate credential from Arizona State University in 2004.
He has stuck with it ever since, and after 13 years at Mingus is now at the helm of Marauders athletics, looking to boost the Marauders morale.