Mesa High School head swim coach Mike Haney, 54, died unexpectedly Thursday night, according to a letter sent out to the school community.
- A GoFundMe has been established to cover his final expenses. Donate here.
He had 30 years of experience in the Mesa Public School system, including decades as the school’s head swim coach. He also worked for Mesa High as a social studies teacher.
“Mr. Haney has been a member of our Mesa High staff for many years, and was loved and respected by students, colleagues and families,” Principal Kirk Thomas said in a letter to the school’s students and families. “He will be greatly missed.”
Haney worked in the Mesa Public School system for his entire career, since August 1993, including 22 years as the program’s head swim coach.
Born and raised in Yuma, Arizona, Haney was a swimmer himself at Kofa High School. He attended college at Arizona State (where he didn’t swim) and worked at a local YMCA – starting as a lifeguard and working his way up to management during the college years.
Once he began teaching in the Mesa public Schools, he held various roles in the aquatics program until take over as the head swim coach at Mesa High in 2001.
His wife, Michelle, said that he was gifted at inspiring his students and swimmers. Mike Haney enjoyed mentoring, she said, and would see the potential they had, even out of the pool. In fact, he helped several of his former students get jobs within YMCA branches, Aquatics programs in Mesa and Chandler (AZ), and even at the HOA clubhouse where Michelle worked (she was the recreation manager at an HOA in Gilbert, AZ where she ran the summer swim program).
His influence on his athletes long surpassed the time he had in coaching them–he truly was an inspiration to many.
Even his sons are following in his footsteps. Both are lifelong swimmers and are currently lifeguarding this summer at the Mesquite Groves Pool in Chandler, Arizona.
The school has made counselors available for students who request them. The Mesa academic year ends next Thursday, May 25th.
The Mesa High School girls finished tied-for-23rd at the 2022 Arizona D1 State Championship meet, and the boys finished 25th.
Sorry to those that knew him, and his family. He sounds like he was a great man.
Mike was an exemplary teacher, Coach and colleague. His legacy at Mesa High will live on forever. Our hearts are with his family at this very difficult time.
Mike was the first coach to welcome me at my first AIA coaches meeting. At the time, he seemed like an ambassador for AZ HS swim, he was very warm and welcoming and told me to ask him for any help or advice. Mike and I talked a lot, he was always proud of what he did. I’ll never forget our first dual meet against Mesa HS, at the conclusion of that meet, he had his swimmer lock arms at the end of the pool and sing the Mesa HS fight song. I thought that was an amazing show of character, tradition and professionalism to the school and sport. I’ve thought about that moment quite a few times during my… Read more »
Mike was an excellent high school coach. He was dedicated to his athletes and it always showed. He died much too soon and will be missed by so, so many.
I’m not sure I could find the words to adequately describe how wonderful Mike was or how impactful his presence was to so many. Carry on, Coach, and thank you for everything.
may you rest in peace……..god bless to your family and loved ones…….