Football magazine endures
Prep tradition survives death of Sollenberger
By Don Ketchum
THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC
July 20, 2006
Since 1970, when Barry Sollenberger's idea became a reality, high school football fans across the Valley have had a taste of upcoming seasons with his Phoenix Metro Football Magazine.
When Sollenberger died on June 23, 2005, his 60th birthday, a large portion of that season's magazine had been put together. People then wondered whether it would continue in 2006.
The answer is yes. The latest edition is due to hit stores today. It might not have Sollenberger's words, but it has the spirit of the historian and media director of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.
"We're proud of it," said Dave Kukulski, Sollenberger's collaborator since 1978. "We think it's a good publication." Kukulski's Tempe publishing company, Kukulski Bros., puts it out and distributes it.
The magazine also touches on Arizona State and junior college football and will have a story on the opening of Cardinals Stadium in Glendale, but the emphasis is on high schools.
Chandler Hamilton's new coach, Steve Belles, formerly coached at Glendale Mountain Ridge and Scottsdale Desert Mountain and was a star quarterback at St. Mary's in 1984. The magazine always has been a must-read for him.
"The players and a lot of the coaches have looked forward to it because it kicked off the season," Belles said. "We still have newspaper coverage and more stuff on Web sites, but it's still part of the tradition and it's good that they're still doing it."
"You receive encouragement by reading it, or if you or your team isn't as favorable as you think they should be, you get motivation out of trying to prove it wrong.”
Sollenberger dissected numbers and players through the years, and his content reflected that. While this year's pages will have some of that flavor, they also will have more of a focus on the previous season, with state brackets and what might occur this fall.
"It's still Barry's magazine," said Kukulski, who did a large share of the writing. "I can't be him, but I think I know what people are looking for."
The magazine will have its usual list of players to watch and schedules and will rank Class 5A and 4A schools by Divisions I and II (Sollenberger lumped them together).
It will have more of a slick, colorful feel with graphics and artwork produced by Jayson Bahe and Daniel Navarette and photography by Steve Paynter. Mike Turner serves as a primary distributor.
Sollenberger was like family to the Kukulskis, and this is a labor of love. Kukulski's wife, Pam, son Andy, daughter Lindsey, and brothers Dan and Larry are involved.
"We've had a lot of support from Barry's family, the coaches and others to keep it going,"
Dave Kukulski said. "We are determined not to let it fall by the wayside.”
There is a possibility that Kukulski will publish a southern Arizona version, and he also is considering expansion into basketball.
Where to get it
Barry Sollenberger's Phoenix Metro Football Magazine ($6) is expected to be available beginning today at:
East Valley Sports
Also available by mail ($12) from Kukulski Bros., 2127 S. Priest Drive, Suite 404, Tempe, AZ 85282.
More information: www.members.tripod.com/kukulski_bros
Source: Kukulski Bros.