Mark Rego was known for his love for others and his joy as an assistant coach in Clark County
Mark Rego, a football coach who believed in positive relationships with all he came across, passed away during the 2018 high school football season, a season that saw his Union Titans go undefeated and win a state championship.
Rego is still winning today.
The Rego Athletic Scholarship Fund carries on the coach’s legacy by awarding scholarships to two seniors from each high school in Evergreen Public Schools. The non-profit organization is holding its fundraising auction on Sunday.
“We knew how much he meant to our family,” said Kristen Parkin, Rego’s sister-in-law and the president of the scholarship’s board. “I’m learning every day how much he meant to the community. We’re hearing stories from people across the state who went to football camps with him, or from the coaches association. The ripple effect was huge. It’s been exciting to see the legacy he has left behind. It’s ongoing.”
Today, those who run the scholarship want to get word out to potential recipients, tell them where to go to apply for the scholarship. Also, organizers want to raise funds for the scholarship.
Rego was a longtime assistant coach in the region. He helped the Evergreen Plainsmen to the 2004 state title and 14 years later, he was on the staff of the state champion Titans.
But he was so much more than that to the football community. He volunteered countless hours to youth football. He counseled athletes who played for other schools. He was a guest of head coaches at other programs throughout the county, sharing his message of love and appreciation as well as teaching what he knew about the game.
So while he was a Union Titan, or an Evergreen Plainsmen before then, he was really a captain of sorts of Southwest Washington football.
“He didn’t just coach football,” Parkin said. “He taught how to win at life.”
Parkin recalled finding out that Rego attended one banquet with the goal of meeting 100 new people.
“He went out of his way to introduce himself and make people feel comfortable,” Parkin said. “He was a hard worker. He was dedicated. But he always went out of his way to greet people. That really stands out to me about him.”
Rego was battling cancer prior to the 2018 season. His mission was to coach that season. He accomplished that. In fact, he was there for Union’s epic road trip to California in Week 2, which featured a thrilling come-from-behind victory.
“His goal was to make it back to the football field, and he did,” Parkin said. “He didn’t go down without a fight.”
Rego died a month later.
His legacy continues.
Parkin said the scholarship is for senior athletes at Evergreen Public Schools. The athletes do not have to play sports in college but must have competed for their schools in at least one sport.
Parkin said the board is looking for student-athletes who are well rounded, with strong GPAs and with community service in their backgrounds. The board will look at recommendations from teachers, employers, and coaches. Applicants also must provide a personal story. Parkin said those stories the first two years of the scholarship have been poignant.
For more information, and to apply, go to www.regoscholarship.com
The board gave out 10 scholarships this past season, but there were no applicants from Evergreen High School.
“We want to make sure everybody in the Evergreen School District knows about it,” Parkin said.
As far as Sunday’s auction, there are trips to Las Vegas, as well as several outings to the coast. There are tickets available to future Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Storm games. And autographed footballs from professional athletes. In all, more than 50 items will be up for auction.
There are a few tickets remaining for the banquet, which will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday at Bethany Vineyard and Winery in Ridgefield. Cost is $50 per couple or $30 for a single. For more information on the banquet, go to the Rego Scholarship Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/244402973099487
The page will also hold online auctions once or twice a month. And the fund announced earlier this month a partnership with local roaster Hidden River and will be selling Coach Rego Coffee.
The scholarship, the memories, his legacy, they all continue the tradition of Rego Strong.