PEORIA, AZ — Disappearing without a trace. That’s what loved ones are saying after a beloved West Valley basketball coach has not been heard from or seen in nearly one month.
Anthony Jackson, known as “Tony” to loved ones, coached the recent basketball season at Centennial High School in Peoria.
His best friend Joe Goguen tells us Tony eats, sleeps, and breathes basketball. He says when Tony didn’t show up to the first day of training, he knew something was wrong.
“We met on the basketball court, went to high school together, Best Man at my wedding…look at how young we were. Holy smokes,” Goguen told ABC15 while showing us a photo of them both.
Goguen says their friendship has only gotten stronger over the years and they have coached together for the last decade.
“His goal was to make you a better man, a better husband, a better father, abetter person in the community, and change the world,” added Goguen.
It’s a goal, he says, Tony has accomplished everywhere he’s coached.
“If he wasn’t coaching at Northwest, he was coaching at Centennial for a long time. We coached together at Ironwood, and now we’re back at Centennial, but we’d go coach together and help out the ‘Y’ — we’d help club teams,” he told ABC5.
Goguen says Tony most recently coached men’s basketball with him at Centennial High in the Spring of 2023. The Peoria Unified School District confirmed this to ABC15.
Goguen tells us everything seemed normal in July. Tony was responsive, but that changed in August.
“We were always planning and talking about how we structure practice and workout. So, for him not to show up on the 21st was quite concerning. That was probably one of the hardest practices I’ve ever had to do,” Goguen said in tears.
It’s been hard ever since that day. Goguen tells us every time he calls Tony’s phone, it goes straight to voicemail.
“Which is unlike him. Usually, he’ll answer the phone even if it’s short,” he added.
Phoenix Police Department officials tell us Tony’s family reported him as missing on August 11. He was last seen near 23rd and Magnolia streets.
He was wearing a blue long-sleeve shirt and blue jeans.
Through it all, Goguen remains hopeful he will be reunited with his dear friend soon.
“He was just the best coach I’ve ever worked for. The best friend I’ve ever had. Dude, we’ve got work to do. We’ve got kids’ lives to affect. Let’s finish the journey together, bro. Come home,” said Goguen.
Luzdelia Caballero www.abc15.com
2023-09-06 00:09:51 , Peoria News