Botkin Takes 500 Wins!


Samantha Crowson, Feature and Cougar Tales editor

“I bleed Red and Blue,” Steve Botkin, Sahuaro Athletic Director and girls basketball coach quoted with a smile when talking about winning his amazing 500th game at the Boyd-Baker tournament. Since 2001, Coach Botkin has been coaching girls basketball, but his career at Sahuaro didn’t start there. He was originally a student here and during that time he was actually a part of The Paper Cut’s “printed” predecessor, Mountain Shadows, with an original plan to be a sports journalist, even going on to the University of Arizona and writing for the sports department of the Arizona Daily Star. He ended up changing his major halfway through.  Botkin wanted to be more involved, really get into the action rather than just writing about it.

Although Botkin is proud, “It’s all about the girls, and the relationships I’ve had with them. It’s about the building of all those relationships, and having a good team, every year.” He stated,”I preach family. All the girls are like a family  At the end of practice, we huddle together and shout FAMILY!” The power of a family connection has definitely stuck around through the years. Vanessa Lemmon, although not  by his side in varsity, has come to work here as a coach for the junior varsity team, sharing, “I played for Coach Botkin here as a Cougar when he hit his first 100 wins. To now be coaching along side of him as he enters the 500 club is even more special! It takes hard work, tons of time and energy to maintain such a highly successful athletic program and Coach Botkin does it well. Congratulations Coach… here’s to many more dubs!! #GOCOUGS”.  Another former player, Olivia Harden, was on the team that won his 200th game and is now currently the assistant coach for the team. “I was lucky enough to be playing for him as he reached his 200th win several years ago, and it is even more amazing to be sitting next to him on the bench as coaching staff…No one deserved it more than he did.”

With his family aspect, you can bet it was extra special for the Botkin legacy to also join in, “…the most important thing was my daughter, Alyssa Botkin, and my son Rick Botkin, being there. My daughter actually signed the 500th game ball, and that really meant a lot to me.” And much like all his other players, his daughter had a few words to say, “I am beyond proud of my dad. He has worked so hard for 17 years, and it has paid off. Playing for my dad is an incredible experience and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. He is, as a coach, amazing, but as a role model and father figure, for most of the girls he is beyond incredible.”

Congratulations Coach Botkin, Sahuaro is more than beyond ready to write about your next great achievement. GO COUGARS!