Longtime defensive coordinator says Hockinson football is a family
The big change at Hockinson football does not necessarily mean a big change with Hockinson football.
“Hockinson football is family,” said Clint LeCount, who, pending school board approval, will become the next head coach of the Hawks.
“One of the things that we’ve prided ourselves on is that true team concept. It’s not just freshmen through seniors who are here now. It’s anybody who has been in the Hockinson family,” LeCount said. “We’ve built that bond year after year. When you build a bond with players, they’re willing to sacrifice for each other. That’s one of the great things about these athletes here at Hockinson is that they understand what teamwork is, they know how to dedicate themselves to their craft, and they’re willing to sacrifice for their teammates.
“That’s what Hockinson is all about.”
The school’s principal, Andy Schoonover, announced Friday late afternoon that the Hawks expect to hire LeCount. It is a quick turnaround after Rick Steele announced his resignation at the end of the pandemic football season in mid March. But Schoonover noted that with spring sports now and winter sports coming up in another abbreviated season, everything related to sports has a fast-track on it.
Still, the school believes in LeCount, who has been with the program for 11 seasons.
LeCount was hired by Steele as an assistant coach, then took over as defensive coordinator in 2013, the year Steele had to step away from Hockinson.
“We had a rough year, but I learned a lot,” LeCount said.
Steele returned as head coach in 2014.
“He said he watched a few games and liked the mentality of which I coached it and asked if I wanted to continue to do it,” LeCount said. “Over the last seven years he’s really helped me develop myself as a coach and how I approach the game and how I approach a week of practice and an offseason. It’s been a blessing that he’s helped push me along.”
The Hawks then went on a run that is unprecedented in Southwest Washington high school football history, winning back-to-back state championships to go with another final four appearance. This year’s squad went 5-0 and won a seventh consecutive 2A Greater St. Helens League title.
“Rick was an amazing coach,” LeCount said. “If you look at the things he did and you don’t take things that he did and try to emulate those things, then you are fooling yourself.”
The new Hockinson Hawks will continue to expect excellence.
“We just want to keep the ball going. I think continuity is huge in a program like this,” LeCount said. “The foundation of this program has been built so well. I think it’s really important that you keep going with what you have going.”
Still, LeCount said he will put his own spin as the head of the program.
“I want to make sure that we’re constantly developing the student-athlete every single day and trying to turn practice into a life lesson as well,” LeCount said. “I just want to bring my energy to this program and see where we can take it.”
LeCount is a 1996 Evergreen High School graduate. He played for Jon Eagle, now the two-time state champion coach at Camas, when he was with the Plainsmen. The 1995 team went to the state semifinals. From there, LeCount played at Central Washington University.
Today, he works for the city of Vancouver as a land surveyor.
When he wanted to get back into coaching, a friend gave him Steele’s number, knowing Steele was looking for help at Hockinson.
Which leads us to the present day. LeCount has never coached at another program.
LeCount did note that he applied for a head coaching position at another school a few years ago.
“You know it was a blessing for me that I was able to stay at Hockinson,” he said. “Your road takes you down different paths for a reason.”
Steele let his coaching staff know early that this was going to be his last season.
“We had to keep quiet. We couldn’t say anything. But knowing that it was his last run, it made the season a little sweeter,” LeCount said. “As soon as he said this is, for sure, it … I knew this is where I wanted to stay, and I wanted a shot at this position.”