Arizona Preps Girl’s Co-Coaches of the Year – Rachel Matakas, Karen Self

by azpreps | Posted on Sunday, April 25th, 2021

Our next selections for our post-season awards and final selections from the COVID-19-stricken 2021 high school basketball season include our selections for Coach of the Year (boys and girls) for the 2021 season. Our selections for this exciting annual award include our Coach of the Year. This honor is derived from our amazing coaches from the AIA and CAA High School programs. We have selected one overall award for this honor - boys and girls.

First of all, high school and prep school coaches across the state are to be honored entirely, as we applaud every high school, prep school or national high school coach for their amazing hard work and dedication to Arizona's student-athletes this past season (2021), as each of them put their individual and family's health on the line t=during this very challenging time during a pandemic. Each of you (boy's and girl's coaches) are to be sincerely commended on your efforts throughout the season. Each of you made it possible to have a high school season, and came up huge for our Arizona student-athletes, which would not have had a season all together without your dedication. Thank you!

With that said, our staff's selection for the Coach of the Year among high school girl's basketball programs in the state includes our Co-Coaches of the Year - Valley Vista High School Head Coach Rachel Matakas and Seton Catholic High School Head Coach Karen Self. Coach Matakas and Coach Self have been pillars in Arizona girl's basketball for many years, and have been consistent in their ability to lead their respective high school girl's programs to the top of their competition in the state, and are both among the elite girl's high school coaches in the country. This season proved to be no different for either coach, as both led their respective high school basketball programs to state titles, again.

Rachel Matakas, in her 24th year of coaching, took her Valley Vista basketball program to the top of the state's competition, once again, as they would win this year's 6A State Championship after compiling an amazing 17-1 overall record on the season. During the challenging Covid-stricken high school season, Valley Vista finished with an undefeated, but mere 3-0 record in the 6A's Southwest Region, as many games were not played or cancelled this past season.

Matakas is a highly-spirited and intense coach that loves the sport, her craft and, of course, her players. She trains her young ladies tremendous self-discipline, and valuable life skills that translate well to their individual lives. She is a mentor, a leader and a pillar in her community. Not only does Coach Matakas coach her players, she also works very hard to get her kids recruited, as many of the prospects that come through her program land college scholarships.

According to Coach Matakas, she told Arizona Preps previously, "I coach because I believe God has given my gifts, talents and a unique journey that I need to share with players who were like me, or in the same situation as me growing up." Coach Matakas went on to say, "My expectation is to see my athletes grow emotionally, physically and mentally.  If we can do those (3) things then the other stuff takes care of itself."

Coach Karen Self has been coaching for nearly (30) years, and she has built Seton Catholic into one of the most respected and decorated programs the state has ever seen. Under Coach Self’s leadership, the Lady Sentinels have now won (12) state championships and had (5) state runner-up finishes. This season, Coach Self led her Seton program to another 4A State Championship after the team finished with an 18-0 undefeated record, and an 8-0 record in the 4A's Desert Sky Region.

Coach Self was an amazing player in her day and close friends that new her as a player, understand how intense and skilled of a player she was in her day. She is committed to developing her student-athletes to have have similar focus, attention to detail and a skill level that allows them to be successful in any situation. Coach Self's teams are successful on and off the court, and it shows by the many student-athletes that she has coached to the collegiate ranks. Her players are spread out all over the country at high academic institutions that also have strong athletics. Like Coach Matakas, Coach Self is a strong pillar in the Chandler community and an inspiration to so many.

"I hope that my "why" in coaching is evident when you see our teams play," said Coach Self. "I love to help our young ladies develop their game to the fullest extent possible, while at the same time helping them develop important skills that will serve players well in their off-court lives. One of the best things about coaching is connecting with players who become your lifelong friends."

Congratulations from our Arizona Preps' staff to both of these amazing coaches on this honor, and thank you both for all you do to impact the lives that you come in contact with. 

Rachel Matakas is the Arizona Preps Girl's Co-Coach of the Year
Karen Self is the Arizona Preps Girl's Co-Coach of the Year

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