The start of the school year brings many new things: a fresh class schedule, a new routine and new friends and teachers. In that spirit, we would like to welcome Arcadia High’s newest additions: Athletic Director Steve Sherren, Football Coach Ray Brown, Pom Coach Davis Berryhill and Swim Coach Wyatt Schafer.
Steve Sherren graduated from Oregon State with a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science and a master’s degree in teaching. For the last five years, he was a middle school and high school assistant principal at schools in Seaside, Oregon. Before that, Sherren was a physical education teacher, a middle school basketball, football and volleyball coach and a dean of students.
He also has previous experience as an athletic director, which will help in his position.
“The role of the athletic director is to support your athletes and coaches and try to make their experiences as meaningful as possible. It’s an extension of the classroom because you’re learning skills like time management, making good decisions, working with your peers, etc.,” Sherren said.
The role of athletic director also includes providing athletes with the tools and skills they need to succeed and ensuring sports continue to be fun and exciting.
“My philosophy is to help kids be successful in whatever they choose to do, while in school or activities they plan on doing after graduation,” he said. “I hope to build on Arcadia’s traditions and legacies, their character development – we don’t want to step back but continue to have a positive impact on the students.”
Sherren said that he’s most excited to meet the staff and students at Arcadia High.
“Any time you change schools, it’s a challenge but also an opportunity in your career to meet new people in a community. There’s fear but more so the excitement of something new, something different,” he said.
With an extensive career in professional football – 20 seasons, that is – Ray Brown is the perfect fit as the new football coach at Arcadia. Brown is originally from Arkansas and was drafted into the NFL after college. He played at the University of Memphis and Arkansas State.
Brown was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals and has played for the Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions. He also coached for the Redskins, Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers before moving to Phoenix to coach the Cardinals in 2018.
“In high school, I believed I was more of a basketball player. But I ended up playing football, and have been in the game ever since,” Brown said. He has over 35 years of experience, and said that, “football is a community thing; we want everyone to have the chance to play.”
He explained that his coaching style will revolve on them team as a community and as a student body. He wants them to stay positive and is happy for the chance to coach at the school that his son, Trey, played for before he graduated this year.
“We’re all happy for a football season,” he said. “Dr. J reached out to me and said ‘I need you,’ and I spoke to my wife about it – she told me that my face lit up. I’m grateful for the opportunity.”
Brown said that the strengths of the team shone through at football camp in July.
“I think one strength is that we got to know each other. Everybody had an experience – some of them, it was their first time away from home. It really made us a ‘we,’ and gave freshmen and seniors a chance to know each other. That’s important to me.”
Arizona native Davis Berryhill has a lengthy background in dance, cheer and pom.
She started competitive dance at age 3, while her cheer and pom experience began in high school and continued since then. She was on the University of Arizona’s pom and dance line, and after graduation, she became an Arizona Cardinals cheerleader.
“It was the most amazing experience,” Berryhill said. She was captain for her last two seasons and retired in July after four seasons with the team.
Arcadia High’s current cheer coach reached out to Berryhill when the position opened up and asked if she wanted to apply. Berryhill has previous coaching experience and currently teaches ballet, jazz and musical theater at a dance studio in the Valley.
“I coach to inspire my athletes. No matter how much you train them, they will not reach their full potential if they aren’t inspired to be there and grow in their craft. I stress the importance of being a good teammate and working together – that includes me as well,” Berryhill said. “My job is to coach the pom team and improve the athlete’s technical skills, but I do it in a way that will instill lifelong values they’ll use throughout every stage in their lives. I want to build on what the team has already accomplished.”
When she’s not coaching, Berryhill works for a video production company as the digital strategy and marketing director.
Having moved to Phoenix from North Dakota in April, Wyatt Schafer is ready to experience the swim scene in a whole new setting. He has a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology from Minnesota State University Moorhead, and he previously worked as a strength and conditioning coach in North Dakota. Schafer swam in high school, and after graduating, he coached his alma mater’s swim team for four seasons.
“I was drawn to Phoenix by the beautiful weather,” he said. “So, I decided to go from the extreme cold of North Dakota winters to the extreme heat of Arizona summers.”
Schafer said he believes that a successful season will come from shorter race-paced training with high-intensity practices and lots of rest.
“I am excited to be here. This will be my first season coaching co-ed swimming, so that will be a new and unique challenge,” Schafer said. “I am also excited for my first season as a head coach. There will be a lot of challenges and responsibilities, and I’m eager to take it all in.”