As promised, Arizona Preps continues to deliver our Coaches Spotlight promoting some of Arizona’s best high school coaches in the state. I had the pleasure of speaking to Coach David Silvas, a long-time fixture in the Town of Florence. Coach Silvas is in his 17th year of coaching and 8th as the Head Boys Basketball Coach of the Florence Gophers.
Coach Silvas has an impressive track record, as his teams have qualified for the 3A State Tournament (6) of his (7) years, and is looking to make it (7) of (8), including this season. He has won Region Coach of the Year a few times, and has had quality small college prospects come through his program, such as Travis Armstrong Jr., Aaron Chapple, Nick Tucker and Rarey Sommer.
Here is our Q & A from our conversation with one of the top boy's programs in the Central Arizona Area . . .
Q: How long have you been coaching?
A: 17 years. This is my 8th year as the Varsity coach. The previous years I coached multiple levels from middle school, freshman and JV. I had a lot of success, because, here at Florence, we are blessed with great student-athletes who buy into our strong tradition.
Q: Which schools or programs?
A: I have only coached at Florence at the Middle School, Freshman, JV and Varsity levels. I am currently the FHS Varsity Head Coach and the Head Florence Middle School Head Coach.
Q: Why do you coach?
A: I love to compete. I love working with the student-athletes. I love teaching them about the game and about life. Again we have been blessed to have great student athletes to buy into the tradition of our athletic program.
Q: What are your expectations for this season?
A: My expectations are the same every year. I want to win a state title. I want to have my players experience the joy of winning. I want my players to develop a good work ethic that they can use for the rest of their life. Basketball teaches so many life lessons, and it can help shape boys into young men.
Q: Who are your key players to watch this season?
A: Senior guard Malik Payton, Senior forward Eddie Chapple, Junior forward Chris Farmer, Senior guards Kaleb Brunner, Jordan Napoleon and Kaleb “Day Day” White. Senior centers Izzy Dismuke and Case Moore.
Q: What were the keys into keeping your program competitive year in and year out?
A: I think it helps that I can go to our feeder schools and teach them the fundamentals. I have some hired assistant coaches and some volunteer assistant coaches that help with the lower levels. Also, we have created a culture here, where the players who come out for basketball, know exactly what is expected of them. They know that they are going to have to work if they want to be successful.
Q: What challenges did you face leading into this season due to the pandemic?
A: Now that we are playing games, it’s been a little more “normal.” Prior to us getting back to playing, it was difficult just keeping the fire lit in the kids. We would practice every day and in the back of our minds, we knew that there is a possibility that we might not even play. That was very frustrating. Fortunately, I have a great group of kids that are loyal and dedicated. They hold each other accountable, so therefore, I don’t have to worry about them NOT coming to practice and working hard.
Coach Silvas is creating a legacy for himself with a number of winning seasons, and small college prospects coming through his program. Currently the Gophers are the #6 team in 3A with a record of 8-2. I expect the Gophers to make some noise in the playoffs with their triple-threat of guards Payton, Farmer, and Chapple.