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Cat legend Byron Evans hopes to continue South Mountain turnaround

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TUCSON (KVOA) - UA Football legend Byron Evans (‘86) is home looking at the mountains again.  

The Wildcats 2nd all-time leading tackler is back at his alma mater South Mountain High School in Phoenix as the Jaguars new head football coach. 

Football however is on hold at the moment up in the Valley. At least for the schools like South Mountain that reside in the Phoenix Union School District. 

The district has suspended Fall sports until a better handle can be gotten on the Coronavirus Pandemic. 

Evans had been working his new team through conditioning drills prior to the move to pause training earlier this month. 

The SMHS grad arrived in Tucson in the Fall of 1982 to play for Larry Smith. His 315 unassisted tackles for the Wildcats are second only to Rickey Hunley. 

He was the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year at Arizona in 1986 and is a member of the UA Sports Hall of Fame. 

UA linebacking legend Byron Evans ('86) is a high school head coach for the 1st time at his alma mater South Mountain in Phoenix

Evans was drafted in the 4th round of the 1987 NFL Draft by Philadelphia Eagles. 

He became a starter in the third of his eight seasons, leading the NFL in tackles (184) in 1989 while playing for legendary coach Buddy Ryan. 

He finished his NFL career with 13 interceptions. 

Evans returned to Phoenix after his NFL days and became an ordained minister. He’s made a name for himself working with at-risk youth in his community. 

He inherits a Jaguars program that was turned around by Marcus and Mark Carter. The two brothers took over a squad in 2016 that had gone 3-47 in the previous five seasons. 

After a 1-10 start to that initial campaign, South Mountain has gone 18-12 the last three seasons. The Jaguars (7-3) won the 5A Metro championship in 2019.

Evans says his sideline will have an NFL-pedigree. Among the coaches expected to assist with the Jaguar program are Cardinals wide receiving great Roy Green, kicker Luis Zendejas, and seven-year NFL receiver J.D. Hill, who starred on the early 1970s Buffalo Bills teams with O.J. Simpson. 

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David Kelly

David Kelly is the weekend sports anchor at KVOA in Tucson. He is a 28-year veteran of the sports broadcast business.

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