Hare is resigning from Spanish Springs after accepting a teaching and head football coaching position at Mesa High School in suburban Phoenix. Hare said the two biggest determining factors in his decision to look for a new job were non-football factors.
"The bottom line is my wife and I, coming from California, wanted to get back to warmer weather," Hare said. "A lot of people here may not say this is cold, but it is to us."
Hare also cited economic reasons, including a pay raise and a better housing market, as reasons the Phoenix-area job offered his family improved opportunities.
Mesa, which boasts an enrollment of 3,700 students, is a Div. I (largest) Arizona school. The Jack Rabbits played for a large-school state title in 2009, but have won just 11 games in the four years since, never more than three in a season.
Hare will be moving in the coming weeks as Mesa officials agreed to bring him on staff for the start of the second semester. Hare said that unlike in Washoe County, he'll have football-only classes offered to athletes during the school day.
"Mesa doesn't want to waste a year. They want to get it going right now," Hare said. "That, to me, is a big deal. They're giving me the resources to bring Mesa back to where it was a few years ago."
Hare was in central Arizona last week as he interviewed Tuesday and Wednesday.
Hare, one of only two coaches the Cougars' program has ever known, took the Spanish Spanish Springs job in 2006. The SSHS gridders went winless in that initial 2006 season, but Hare and the Cougars improved their win total each of the next three years. Spanish Springs had qualified for postseason play every year since 2009. Hare guided the program to its first playoff win when it won a North Region quarterfinal at Bishop Manogue in 2012.
Spanish Springs finished 4-6 this past season.
Hare admitted he has mixed feelings about his tenure at Spanish Springs, saying he values the relationships he's built, but wishing he'd seen even better on-field results.
"I feel good about my time at Spanish Springs but I don't feel like I finished it," he said. "That's being honest. I definitely feel like we started off on a pretty darned-good path. We've done some good things but we've also plateaued a bit. I'm leaving great kids. As a competitor, it's hard to leave. I can't say I got all the way to where I wanted to get with the program, That part leaves a sour taste in my mouth, but from the standpoint of coaching kids and giving everything I had, I'm proud of a lot of things I've done there. I wouldn't trade my years here for anything. I built great relationships with great people."
Hare said the tough part about making his decision public was the timing, stressing that with Christmas Break hitting, he couldn't get the word out to his staff and players in a way he would have liked.
"I'm not a huge fan of the way the timing worked out," Hare said. "I haven't been able to talk to the kids at all. I sent out an email and that's not the way I wanted to go about doing it. This has all just happened so quickly over the last week … but I will still be here when the kids get back to school."
Spanish Springs Athletic Director Art Anderson said Hare's decision to take the Mesa job was not a surprise. Anderson said Hare had been up front with the Cougars' administration about his plans to explore other opportunities.
"Scott said he had sent out some feelers and that he wanted to see what was out there," Anderson said. "When he started applying, he let us know. We knew he was going to interview in Arizona. We'd gotten some reference requests."
The Cougars AD said the vacant coaching position would be officially listed Dec. 30. He said it would be open to on-staff candidates as well as other district and out-of-district candidates, stressing the school would be looking for the best possible coach to fill the position. Anderson also pointed out that given a teaching position will be opening up with Hare's departure, the applicant pool should be deeper as well, since the school has the option to higher a coach and teacher and not just a non-staff applicant.
"This is the not-so-fun part," Anderson said. "We let the staff know. We let the players know. Now we're going to post the position and open it up. We'll see who applies."
Anderson said he hopes his athletic administrative team can conclude the hiring process by early to mid-February.
"The timing is probably not ideal, but it still gives us plenty of time to get a new coach, to have him meet the team and get started on spring football," he said.