Longtime coach in Clark County is a 1988 graduate of Battle Ground
Mike Woodward, Battle Ground High School Class of 1988, grew up a Tiger and now he is in position to lead the Tigers.
Woodward told his football players at Woodland on Tuesday that he is resigning his position with the Beavers in order to take over as the head coach at Battle Ground.
A spokesman for Battle Ground schools said Woodward has been recommended for hire, pending school board approval.
“Just a chance to go home,” Woodward said. “I grew up there. I had an amazing mother who raised me but she had a lot of help from teachers, coaches, parents in the community, in the school.”
Woodward coached Mountain View to back-to-back state semifinal appearances in 2001 and 2002, his first head coaching gig. He spent three seasons at Hudson’s Bay. The California sun came calling, and he was the head coach at a school in San Diego for nine seasons. He returned to the Northwest and has been the head coach at Woodland for five of the past six seasons.
“It’s been pulling at me a little bit,” Woodward said. “This is the third time that job has opened since I’ve been back (in Clark County). Not that I wanted to leave Woodland. It just felt like it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass.”
Woodward’s good friend Mark Oliverio coached the Tigers this past season but left Battle Ground to return to Hudson’s Bay.
Now Woodland will be looking for a new coach.
“This is extremely difficult,” Woodward said. “I’ve had great parents at Woodland, great coaches I’ve worked with. It’s a great town, a great community.”
Battle Ground was the only place that tempted him to leave Woodland. He noted that the Prairie and Heritage jobs are still open, but he said he never thought about applying to those schools.
“I prayed and pondered on this for so long,” Woodward said. “It comes back to I wanted to go back to my old hometown and school and work some magic.”
His eyes are wide open. Battle Ground is a Class 4A program playing in a four-team league that includes Union, Skyview, and Camas. Woodward calls them “USC” and “The Big Three.”
“Those three teams are not just good, they are dominant,” Woodward said.
Including the abbreviated COVID season last spring and this past fall, the Tigers have lost 17 consecutive games dating back to 2019. He understands the challenge ahead.
At the same time, he is not going to just focus on non-league games and fall down in front of USC.
“I’m not going to be looking to be the guy who gets my tail kicked in,” he said. “I’m going to be fighting. I’m too much of a competitor.”
This latest Clark County high school football coaching move leaves Prairie, Heritage, and Woodland in the process of hiring new head coaches.