Today: Feb 29 , 2020

To Coach Payne: A Tribute

07 August 2009   Matt LaMaster

Prescott High School Wrestling Coach Dan Payne has resigned from his position this week.


Coach Dan Payne (right) sits next to his son, Jared, an assistant coach, during a wrestling match.

Editor's Note: The author of this article, Matt LaMaster, wrestled under Coach Payne for 4 years at Prescott High School. Under Coach Payne's mentorship and direction, Matt placed 4th at State in his Senior Year.

The Prescott eNews community is sad to see this particular news. Coach Dan Payne of the Prescott High School Wrestling Program turned in his resignation this week. Events conspired against him, and though he regrets to go, Coach had to see to his personal life. For the first time in a few decades, Coach will not be coaching wrestling, or anything for that matter.

Proverbs 22:1 says, "Choose a good reputation over great riches, for being held in high esteem is better than having silver or gold." Well, Coach certainly has a good reputation. He is well known throughout the community as an experienced, God-fearing man. Payne came to Prescott in the '80's when he started up the wrestling program at Embry Riddle, and he's been here ever since.

While at Embry Riddle, Coach had many All-Americans, a handful of national Champions, and one National Champion team. He was the President of the NAIA wrestling federation for a year, which recently honored him by by inducting him into the Hall of Fame.

During his tenure at PHS, Dan would have his oldest, Jared graduate from Bradshaw, and his daughter, Tanya graduate from Prescott High School. After his time at Embry Riddle, Dan coached his second son, Max at Prescott Mile High Middle School for a year before graduating to coach high school wrestlers at Prescott High School.

Coach Payne didn't always like what he saw during the matches!

Max would wind up wrestling for his dad again in two years. For five years, Dan put up with the various wrestlers there. It seemed like he had found his niche, and proceeded to pump out three individual state titles and dozens of state placers. Coach Payne was looked up to throughout the state as a role model by many of the younger coaches throughout Arizona, and numerous times other coaches would come up and ask him for his advice.

Coach's oldest child, Jared, and his second child, Tanya, are both married. Jared still lives in Prescott with his wife and toddler son. Tanya would go onto play soccer for Liberty University. (Congratulations to Tanya who was recently married in Ireland.) Coach's son, Maxwell, who won 2 State Titles in his weight class, has taken the chance of a lifetime to wrestle at Montana Northern University. Dan and his wife Paige will be working between Prescott and Montana on various construction projects, and Dan said he might be able to help out the Prescott Wrestling Program a little, just not in the same capacity as before.

We will miss Dan Payne's contributions to our community. We know that the many accomplishments Dan has had in this town compares nothing to the amount of lives that he has touched. However, we know that God works out all things for His good. We wish you the best wherever you go, and our prayers and thoughts will be with you. Dan Payne, a man of accomplishment, is, and will always be, a proud father, a fiery mentor, a loving husband, and a respected coach.


One of Coach Payne's proudest moments was presenting his son, Max, with the Athlete of the Year Award at the PHS Awards Night.