Happenings - October 2006
Grand County High School
Tony Chacon, GCHS
Class of 1983,
hopes to build a winning girls varsity basketball team.
by Jeff Richards
Tony Chacon, 41, a member of the Grand County
High School Class of 1983, says he is looking forward to becoming
the new head girls basketball coach for the GCHS Lady Devils.
“I love sports, and I love coaching children,” says
Tony. “Some people might think of it as being a stressful
job, but for me, it’s actually relaxing. To me, coaching
is a hobby. I love it.”
Tony says he’s not the least bit nervous about taking over
the new position. “I’ve coached this same group of
girls from the time they were on my Junior Jazz team in the 3rd
and 4th grade,” he says, referring to his daughter Latoya,
now a junior at GCHS, and her classmates. “The girls know
me, and I know them. I’m excited,” he adds.
Tony says he and his assistants will start holding and attending
informal shoot-arounds this month, and that official practices
will start in early November, about six weeks before the start
of the preseason schedule.
Tony, who has coached the JV squad and assisted the varsity coach
for the past couple of years, now hopes to improve the varsity
team, which has posted just 6 wins while suffering 36 losses
over the past two seasons.
“I know it’s not going to be easy,” he acknowledges,
noting that last year’s starting guard Whitney Keogh recently
tore her ACL ligament in her left knee and will miss her entire
junior year. But Tony says he’s not about to make excuses.
“We need all the girls on the floor to be able to play
any position, and to run, run, run the ball,” he notes. “It’s
going to be totally different than you’ve ever seen the
Lady Devils play. Defense is going to be the key.”
“Our goal is to make it at least to the second round of
the state playoffs this season,” he adds. “We may
not win a lot of games our first year, but I at least want us
to be competitive.”
After graduating from GCHS in 1983, Tony moved to Phoenix, Ariz.,
where he enrolled at DeVry University, taking computer and drafting
“It was Coach Glen Richeson who really got me interested
in drafting,” recalls Tony. “I really loved his class.
He would always tell me, ‘You can accomplish anything you
set your mind to.’” Tony also cites chorus teacher
Jim Nissen as being a positive influence during his high school
Tony suffered a serious neck injury during his freshman year
of high school that prevented him from playing football or other
contact sports. He did play tennis, however.
But nothing can keep Tony and his family
away from the bleachers or sidelines these days, as they all
enjoy watching just about every type of sports activity. Daughter
Latoya plays both soccer and basketball for GCHS, and also participated
in track for one year. Son TJ, now a sophomore, played football
last year and also plays basketball and runs track. And youngest
child Kianna, a 5-year-old kindergartner, is already showing
promise as an athlete. Adds Tony with fatherly pride: “She’s
already a great basketball player.”
During his four years in Arizona, Tony also worked building custom
homes, and also had his own fencing business. In 1987, however,
his father Bill was injured in a car accident, so Tony moved
back to Moab to help him recuperate. Tony’s younger brother
Paul (a 1988 GCHS graduate) was still in high school at the time.
The boys’ mother Erma Chacon died of cancer in May 1972,
when Tony was 6 and Paul was 1. Bill, who never remarried, was
left to raise the two boys on his own.
“My dad has always been a great inspiration to me,” adds
Tony, noting that his father and brother still live in Moab.
Tony never went back and finished college, but says he sometimes
wishes he had.
Even though his drafting and computer skills helped
him out greatly in later jobs, he still wonders if he wasn’t
better suited for something else entirely.
“I missed my calling,” he declares somewhat ruefully. “I
wish I’d been a schoolteacher.”
For the past 19 and a half years, Tony has worked at Moab Salt,
now owned and operated as Intrepid Mining LLC. He currently works
as the loadout supervisor, overseeing the outgoing weekly shipments
of bulk salt and potash.
Tony first met his wife Celi, a native of Helper and a graduate
of Carbon High School, through a friend of a relative.
“We were set up by my aunt, and actually met in Green River
for a blind date,” Tony recalls, adding that he and Celi
have now been married for 10 years.
“I really wouldn’t be able to do any of the things
I do without the tremendous support that I get from my wife,” says
Tony. “She writes down stats at the games, and plans team
parties, everything else that needs to be done.”
Whether he’s coaching basketball, softball, or soccer,
Tony’s continually positive attitude is readily apparent
to players, parents, and colleagues alike. “I love working
with kids,” he says. “My philosophy is, if I can
make a difference in one person’s life, then it’s
all worth it.”
The effort you put forth in sports carries into real life,” adds
Tony. “I want to see these kids graduate from high school,
and go on to college and have a successful life.”
Many of Tony’s former players in various sports are familiar
with his oft-repeated mantra: “If you give 110 percent,
win or lose, you can go home feeling like a winner.”