TUCSON, Ariz — It was this past summer when Pima College ended football, much to the dismay of coach Jim Monaco.
"You just can't pull the plug on something," Monaco said at the time.
Monaco coached the Aztecs to a bowl game, but not before he was critical of the university's decision to cancel the program, a decision that included bugetary reasons, safety, and the decision by the Maricopa county schools to cancel their programs.
"He struggled with the decision we had to make," said Chancellor Lee Lambert. "There was no doubt about it."
Monaco's future was unclear. That's when athletic director Edgar Soto accepted a position as the interim vice president of thes school's Desert Vista campus. Moanco applied to the the school's acting athletic director.
"I love working for the college, and I want to stay in whatever capacity they thought I could work in."
Sure enough, campus president Morgan Phillips recommended to Lambert that Monaco be the school's acting athletic director, and Lambert agreed.
"Yes, I was surprised," admitted Monaco. "I think they like the fact that I'm passionate about the college. I think it's an amazing place to be."
"I want you to voice your differences," said Lambert. "I want you to be passionate about what you do. The way he handled the season, from start to finish, showed that he is someone we need to invest in as an institution."
"That's an awesome compliment," said Monaco. "I tried to handle it the best I can."
Just one week into the job, Monaco celebrated the Aztecs soccer team winning the national championship. Monaco's vision includes building an alumni athletic assocation, something he's already started doing.
If Soto's position becomes permanent, than Monaco's has a chance to become that as well.