MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - 2021 will be a new era for Mesa's Mountain View High School football. But it'll be a familiar face leading the way for the Toros. Joe Germaine, who led Mountain View to a state title as a player in 1993, is now taking over as the head coach of the program. "There's nothing I wanted to do more as a kid, than grow up and be a Toro," says Germaine.
It's been less than a week since Germaine was named the next head coach at Mountain View, but he's already getting reacquainted with his old surroundings. First stop? Vito's Pizza. "We would come here all the time," says Germaine. "It's a great spot, and it looks the same to me. So they're doing something right."
Of course, a lot has happened since Germaine was busy celebrating at Vito's after leading Mountain View to back-to-back state championship game appearances in the early 90s. Winning a Rose Bowl at Ohio State and a Super Bowl with the Rams are memories that only a handful of players ever get to experience. But for Germaine, they wouldn't have happened without the lessons he learned as a Toro.
"When I look at the Mountain View logo, I think of things," says Germaine. "I think of the coaches, the accountability, the work ethic, the toughness."
They are all traits that Germaine tried to instill in his Queen Creek players as he turned the Bulldogs into a Valley powerhouse over the last decade. But it's hard to turn down a chance to return to your alma mater.
"I said, you know, Joe if I had a magic wand, you know who would be leading this football program, right?" says incoming Mountain View Principal Mike Oliver. "And he looked at me, and he said, 'Mike, I hope you think it would be me.'"
"To be able to come back to my roots, and just the history and tradition," says Germaine. "The expectations at Mountain View and Mountain View football, it's fun to think about."
As for what Germaine might be thinking about five minutes prior to kickoff at the Toro's home opener this September?
"I'll probably think of my dad and my mom, who always came to the games," says Germaine. "And my dad didn't sit in the stands; he got a little rowdy at times so he would just stand by the track. You know there's probably a little spot off to the side there, by the track, where I'll probably look every once in a while and wonder if he's approving or not."
It's a safe bet he is, Germaine. You're home. Again.