Does your high school have retired numbers?
Do you ever wonder why?
If so, “What’s Your Number?” has all the answers. The book, the second from former KNAZ-TV sports broadcaster and NAU alum Scott Hanson, tells the fascinating stories behind every retired number at high schools across the state, including those from across Coconino and Yavapai counties.
“What’s Your Number?” is the result of more than a year of research and interviews with Arizona’s high school athletic directors, administrators, alumni, librarians, local historians, long-time school employees, relatives of those honored, the honorees themselves and others who may have known the people whose numbers have been retired.
“It’s a natural follow-up to my first book, ‘Who Is Gym?’ which was released in 2015 after three years of research to uncover the stories behind Arizona’s high schools and their sports venues,” said Hanson, a 30-year high school sports official across Arizona. “The idea for ‘What’s Your Number’ actually began in much the same way as ‘Who Is Gym?’ – while officiating.”
With “Who Is Gym?” Hanson was with his football crew preparing to officiate the school’s varsity football game in 2012. The field was named M.L. Huber Stadium. Not familiar with Huber, Hanson asked a couple of people at the school who he was. To his surprise, they didn’t know who Huber was either. Then, a week later, his football crew was at Independence High School and he asked about the story behind their Tolmachoff Stadium. He got the same answer. It was then that he was motivated to action.
“Then, two years ago, just after ‘Who Is Gym?’ was published, I was umpiring at Paradise Valley High School in Maricopa County, which has a long history of baseball success,” said Hanson. “Just after the national anthem, my umpire partner Stan ‘The Man’ Hoover pointed to the right field fence and said, ‘That’s your next book.’”
Hoover was motioning to the retired jersey numbers that adored the fence, and by the third inning, Hanson had already asked the coach about the stories and people behind those retired numbers. That began the formal research.
“This book shines a light on Arizona’s most legendary high school athletes, as well as those we lost too soon and those who inspired others to greatness,” said Hanson. “To date, only 186 individuals have retired numbers at Arizona High Schools.”
Among them are Yavapai County standouts, including:
- Football player Roman Jauregui, whose number 20 was retired at Bagdad High School
- Football player Jeffery Rucker, whose number 21 was retired at Bagdad High School
- Football player Ricky Gray, whose number 62 was also retired at Bagdad High School
- Softball player Nicole Parra, whose number 8 was at Bagdad High School, the only female athlete in the county to be so honored
- Basketball player Anson Watahomigie, whose number 30 was retired at Seligman High School
“’Retired’ high schools, Jerome High School and Clarkdale High School, are also included,” said Hanson, noting the book also delves into any high schools that have closed over the years in various regions, or as he calls it, were ‘retired.’
Among the athletes in Coconino County who were honored are:
- Johnny Hatcher, whose football number 15 is retired at Williams High School
- Billy Hatcher, whose football number 16 is retired at Williams High School
- James Faultner, whose football number 22 is also retired at Williams High School
- Charlie McCormick, whose basketball number 13 is retired at Fredonia High School
- Terrell Brooksby, whose football number 22 is also retired at Fredonia High School
“Retired” Sinagua High School in Flagstaff is also included.
Other standouts include:
- MLB and Arizona Diamondbacks legend Curt Schilling, whose number 19 is retired at Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix
- MLB All-Star catcher Paul Konerko, whose number 9 is retired at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona
- NBA and former Phoenix Suns forward Channing Frye, whose number 44 is retired at St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix
- NFL MVP Mark Gastineau, whose number 99 is retired at Round Valley School in Eager, Arizona
- NFL Pro Football Hall of Famer Randall McDaniel, whose number 88 is retired at Agua Fria High School in Avondale, Arizona
Longtime Arizona sportscaster and high school sports advocate (who also graduated from NAU with Hanson in the 1980s) Kevin McCabe wrote the book’s foreword. Stan “The Man” Hoover, a retired Phoenix Police lieutenant and Hanson’s baseball umpire partner, penned the book’s introduction. QCBN
By Alison Bailin Batz, QCBN
“What’s Your Number?” is available for purchase now for $19.95, plus shipping and handling. For more information – or to purchase your copy today – please visit scotthansonauthor.com.