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ASU Football prepares for Camp Tontozona return in 2013


football practice at Camp T
May 01, 2013

Arizona State University's football team, under the direction of second-year Head Coach Todd Graham, will visit Camp Tontozona, ASU's iconic preseason football camp, Aug. 12-17.  


The stay at Camp Tontozona will culminate with the annual scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 17.


The Sun Devils, under the direction of Coach Graham and Vice President for University Athletics Steve Patterson, spearheaded the successful "Return to Camp T" campaign one year ago that resulted in ASU's first trip to the property in the Tonto National Forest since 2008. The White Mountain Alumni Chapter Board, volunteers and sponsors took the lead and helped to make the return a reality with a matching donation program.


"I've stated many times that I love the traditions of college football," says Graham. "Camp Tontozona for ASU is one of those iconic traditions. I want to take my teams to Camp T because that is where the tradition and the season begins. Coach Frank Kush had a vision and it worked out very well. I want to perpetuate that tradition."


"Camp Tontozona is where the Sun Devil family unites," says Patterson. "It is a place where the football team, the Sun Devil fans and alumni and the local Payson community can unite toward a common interest.  We had a goal last year of raising funds so that we could return to Camp T and I am proud of everyone who made that possible.  We see the unique value in bringing the football team to Camp T and we are proud to continue the tradition."


Set within the cool mountain country near Payson, Ariz., the camp borders the Tonto National Forest, which provides the first two syllables of Tontozona. The state of Arizona offers the last pair.


Mountains skirt the camp with water, contributing much of the beauty to the area with clear-running Tonto Creek just a moment's walk from the practice field. As a matter of fact, the bubbling springs on the camp property are a popular place for a cold drink or a refreshing natural whirlpool after practice. But the creek is even more popular after drills. Three man-sized waterfalls and clear-bottom swimming holes serve as refreshers to the Sun Devils.


Wildlife is another prominent specialty of Tontozona; deer roaming the surrounding country and hawks circling the morning and evening skies are not uncommon sights.


Just minutes away by car are other attractions such as Zane Grey's cabin, the site that inspired many of the famous author's Western novels, the spectacular Mogollon Rim and its breathtaking view, and countryside that provides a haven for campers, horseback riders, hikers and picnickers.