They were high school football teammates. State champions. They took their own paths in the 1990s after graduating from Mesa Mountain View.
They stayed in contact, became coaches, dads, and teamed up again as coaches. Now they’re molding their sons on football fields, navigating the delicate balancing act between father and son, coach and player.
It can be tough love. It can get hard. But, at the end, football has formed a bond that keeps them connected to their sons.
Joe Germaine, head coach at Mountain View, and Travis Schureman, who leads Queen Creek’s football program, are among the many coaches in Arizona who have a son playing on their teams.
Jack Germaine is the starting quarterback, getting ready for his junior season at Mountain View. Griffin Schureman is a starting two-way lineman at Queen Creek, preparing for his senior season.
Sunday being Father’s Day is special. But on football fields, for fathers and sons, every day is Father’s Day. The field serving as a training ground for life.
“We try to separate the two,” Joe Germaine said about the dynamic of being both Jack’s father and coach. “But in general, there’s such a teaching moment every day in football that I think benefits life.”
Nothing is given, everything earned
Last year, when Joe Germaine took over his alma mater’s football program, pressure came with the job. Toro Nation was spoiled by the successes of its first two head coaches, Jesse Parker and Bernie Busken. Between the two, Mountain View won seven big-school state championships, including 1993 when Joe Germaine was Parker’s quarterback and Travis Schureman helped anchor the line.
When Joe became Toros’ coach, he didn’t simply hand the starting quarterback job to his son. Jack was gradually acclimated after having double reconstructive knee surgeries the previous two years.
But by midseason, it was apparent that Jack had what it took to lead the Toros. He ended up throwing 124 of 180 passes without an interception and firing 22 touchdown, passes as the Toros went 8-3 and reached the 6A playoffs.
“It’s been a pretty smooth transition having him as my high school coach,” Jack said. “A good mentor. Not only is he good on the field, but he’s a good example off the field.”
Now the pressure falls on Jack, who realizes his father’s football legacy not only at Mountain View but what he did at Ohio State, then reaching the NFL and winning a Super Bowl ring as Kurt Warner’s backup with the St. Louis Rams.
“I kind of just play my game and do my thing, but, yeah, when it comes down to it, there are big shoes to fill,” Jack said.
‘The best of both worlds’
Griffin Schureman started at both offensive line and defensive end for his dad’s Queen Creek team that got to the Open Division state playoffs. Travis knows how precious each day is on the field with his son.
“It’s been fun,” Travis said. “It’s been a great honor to have him come with me to the camps since he was little. We’ve kind of grown up on the field together. It’s surreal to see him come into his senior year now, it’s kind of full circle. “
Griffin and Jack became close growing up, watching Queen Creek football games when Joe and Travis were running the Bulldogs’ program together.
Griffin said it’s been tough playing for his dad, but he calls it “the best of both worlds.”
“He pushes you to be your best,” Griffin said.
During a midweek 7-on-7 competition at Bell Bank Park in southeast Mesa, all four teams involved — Eastmark, Skyline, Queen Creek and Mountain View — had fathers who have coached their sons in football.
First-year Skyline coach Adam Schiermyer, who was Eastmark coach Scooter Molander’s offensive coordinator last season, has a few years before he’ll coach his son in high school. Crew Schiermyer, now in seventh grade, plans to play someday for his dad at Skyline.
Adam has coached his son’s youth games since he was 6.
“I don’t think there’s a whole lot of pressure with that (the son playing for his dad),” Adam said. “I want to be a supportive dad, however that is. Whether he wants to be in the band or play football, I’ll support whatever decision he wants to make. Whatever he’s passionate about, I want to give him the tools to be successful at whatever it is.”
Molander’s son Mack, who sat out the first five games last season after transferring from Queen Creek, will be entering his senior season at quarterback at Eastmark. He started out at Queen Creek, wanting to prove he can earn the job without his father being his coach.
But last year, he felt the transition to being coached by his dad was worth the move.
“He’s been able to separate dad and coach pretty well,” Mack said. “At home, he’s just my dad.
“Sometimes, he’s hard on me. But I’m able to communicate with him and with my teammates, and it falls into place.”
Being a former quarterback, Scooter can have long chalk talks with his son. But there are limits to it.
“What I enjoy and our rule is, when we get in the car in the morning to drive to Eastmark, I can talk about football until we get home and walk and walk in that door and get in the house at the end of the day , Scooter said. “Then I’m not allowed to talk about football.
“If he wants to bring it up to me, that’s fine. That’s how we separate it. But that time together is very special.”
But there are no special privileges on the field for his son.
“He knows this that I will and have and periodically jumped his tail hard in front of players, even more than I might somebody else,” Scooter said. “It’s clear that nobody is getting preferential treatment. He knew that going in.”
Scooter said making it easier for his son, spoiling him and filling his head with constant lofty praise, won’t help him later in life.
“It doesn’t help, because if you think you’re going to the next level to win a job, good luck,” Scooter said.
‘Me and my shadow’
Roy Lopez, in his second year leading Mesa Desert Ridge’s football program, coached his son Roy III in high school at Tempe Marcos de Niza and Gilbert Mesquite, before he graduated in 2016. He’s a proud dad, seeing his son make it to the NFL , playing defensive line for the Houston Texans as a rookie last year.
“It was like, ‘Me and my shadow,'” Lopez said. “He was at every big man challenge, every 7-on-7 event, every lifting event. He was like my assistant. And now, seeing him at the ultimate level, it’s unbelievable.”
Lopez said that he knows for his son it was stressful.
“It’s hard for the coach’s son,” Roy said. “You’re either a dog, or you know… The daddy ball comes into it.
“There are a lot of emotions as a head coach.”
Lopez recalled all of the fathers who led their sons over the years, whether it was in football, basketball, baseball or wrestling, including the legacy Glenn McMinn left at Apache Junction, coaching his sons.
Charlie Webb coached his son, David, at Phoenix Camelback in baseball, and watched him grow up to succeed as the head baseball coach at Tempe Corona del Sol.
“It’s definitely a different animal,” Lopez said. “It’s a blessing. And it can be hard. Not so much a detriment but it can be hard on those kids, being the coach’s boy. I do know that scouts at the next level do look at coaches’ sons, because they pretty much lived it their whole lives.”
For 13 years at Desert Ridge, Jeremy Hathcock led the Jaguars to great success. Along the way, he raised three sons who played for him.
His middle son Alec is now his defensive coordinator at Lakeside Blue Ridge, where Jeremy is entering his second year leading the program.
His oldest son Ryan graduated from Desert Ridge in 2011.
His youngest son, Koby, is now the long snapper at Iowa State. He was his dad’s Swiss Army knife, doing it all, plugging into positions, being the glue to his dad’s Desert Ridge much-injured team his senior year.
As they grew up playing youth football, Jeremy made sure he never missed one of their games. When they were running around the Desert Ridge hallways, Jeremy had an eye on them. With help from others.
“It was a true community,” Jeremy said. “When you get to coach three of them… One is special. But three is great. Every one of them, I learned something from. The first one, he and I just started talking.
“The middle one, by the middle of the year, I think he was tired of me. And the last one, I learned just to not coach him and let everyone else coach him and be Dad. That’s what I loved.”
To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-316-8827. Follow him on Twitter @mc_obert.
Support local journalism: Subscribe to azcentral.com today