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Battle Ground coach honored by Ducks

Mike Kesler was an honorary captain last week in Eugene

Mike Kesler knows he was part of special in his college football days.

Last week, his old college days showed him he was pretty special.

Kesler, the head coach for the Battle Ground Tigers, was one of the honorary captains for the Oregon Ducks at the season opener at Autzen Stadium.

Mike Kesler, left, hangs out with his sons Ryan, Brandon, and Shane at least week’s Oregon Duck football game. Kesler, the head coach at Battle Ground, played for the Ducks in 1978 and 1979. He was an honorary captain last week in Eugene. Photo courtesy of Mike Kesler
Mike Kesler, left, hangs out with his sons Ryan, Brandon, and Shane at least week’s Oregon Duck football game. Kesler, the head coach at Battle Ground, played for the Ducks in 1978 and 1979. He was an honorary captain last week in Eugene. Photo courtesy of Mike Kesler
Mike Kesler, now the head coach at Battle Ground, was a defensive lineman for the Ducks in 1978 and 1979. Photo courtesy of Mike Kesler
Mike Kesler, now the head coach at Battle Ground, was a defensive lineman for the Ducks in 1978 and 1979. Photo courtesy of Mike Kesler

A defensive lineman, Kesler played for the Ducks in 1978 and 1979 after two years in junior college. He was there for the second and third seasons of the Rich Brooks era.

“It was a building situation,” Kesler recalled.

That first season, the Ducks won two games but were in position to win in seven of their nine losses.

The next season was a winning season, the first for Oregon since 1970.

“That was the start of the improvement as they got better every year,” Kesler said.

Last week, the Ducks honored Kesler.

“There was a little ceremony. They had quick bios on us. They showed pictures I didn’t even know existed,” Kesler said. “I got to go out for the coin toss.”

As he was on the sidelines, he heard people screaming his name. There were other former teammates, now ticket holders, trying to get his attention to say hello.

“The biggest thing is I had the opportunity to spend the time with my boys,” Kesler said.

Battle Ground coach Mike Kesler was an honorary captain at a recent Oregon Ducks football game. Kesler played for the Ducks in the 1970s. Photo by Mike Schultz
Battle Ground coach Mike Kesler was an honorary captain at a recent Oregon Ducks football game. Kesler played for the Ducks in the 1970s. Photo by Mike Schultz

His three grown sons, Ryan, Brandon, and Shane, never saw their dad play for the Ducks. Saturday, though, they saw him on the field.

Kesler would go on to spend 25 years with the Washington State Patrol. For the past four years, he has been head of security at Battle Ground. He also has coached high school football for 26 years, as an assistant at Evergreen and Union, and now the head coach at Battle Ground.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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