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Art Dye becomes a first-time Arizona high school varsity head basketball coach at 73

a man sitting in a room: Art Dye became a Arizona high school varsity basketball coach for the first time at 73. © Benjamin Franklin HS Art Dye became a Arizona high school varsity basketball coach for the first time at 73.

Art Dye, considered the man who jump-started club basketball in Arizona in the 1980s with his Stars program, will become a head high school varsity boys basketball coach for the first time at the age of 73.

Queen Creek Benjamin Franklin on Monday hired Dye to take over its basketball program.

"I don't believe that age is a factor when you look at the body of work somebody has," principal Jon Hutman said. "If you spend any time with Art, you can see that age is just a number for him. His intensity, knowledge of the game, how straightforward he is, it's captivating."

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Dye coached future NBA players like Mike Bibby, Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye during his run as director and coach of the AAU Stars.

But he never led a high school basketball program until now.

Dye will succeed Jeff Thomas as head coach. Thomas left to become the head coach at Queen Creek Casteel.

The Chargers went 13-16 last season.

"It could be a really fun position for me," said Dye, who spent last season helping out Commander King at Chandler Seton Catholic. "It's exciting for me to be with these young kids."

Dye got out of the AAU club scene about five years ago.

"The way it's ran now I'm just disgusted," Dye said. "It's all about money. We did it for different reasons than the way they do now. It gave me a drive for wanting to go back to that level (coaching at a high school). Ben Franklin has seventh and eighth grades connected. It will be run to have kids go through the program, get them to develop."

He was connected to Benjamin Franklin through former Seton player Jonathan Magnus, who helped out at Seton last year, before moving over to Benjamin Franklin to teach in the math department.

Hutman said that Magnus will be involved in the basketball program with a chance to take it over once Dye decides he is ready to retire from coaching.

Dye's passion still is boundless, talking about building a program in stable condition for the next few years.

"I still have a lot left in the tank," he said.

To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at richard.obert@arizonarepublic.com or 602-316-8827. Follow him on Twitter @azc_obert.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Art Dye becomes a first-time Arizona high school varsity head basketball coach at 73

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