Neil Lomax gives advice as he exits Fort Vancouver football

Head coach resigns and hopes school can find a coach who works on campus

VANCOUVER — Neil Lomax wants Fort Vancouver football to succeed, and he believes it will have a chance if the school can hire a coach from the neighborhood, someone who is passionate, someone who lives there.

“I was not able to do that,” Lomax said.

Neil Lomax resigned as Fort Vancouver’s football coach. He informed his players of his decision last month. Photo by Mike Schultz
Neil Lomax resigned as Fort Vancouver’s football coach. He informed his players of his decision last month. Photo by Mike Schultz

Lomax, a former NFL quarterback and Portland State standout, resigned as the team’s head coach after two seasons.

He told his players just prior to the Christmas break. James Ensley, the school’s athletic director, confirmed the news last week.

Lomax, who lives in Wilsonville, Ore., said the commute was just too much. 

“The distance caught up to me,” he said. “I wanted to be there more. I just can’t.” 

With another grandchild on the way, Lomax said he could not commit to the time required to make it work at Fort Vancouver.

Lomax said he hopes the school can get two or three more teachers or other on-campus employees who want to coach football.

“That program will continue to suffer if they do not do that,” Lomax said.

The Trappers went with an independent schedule in 2019, and had more competitive performances than in recent years. They got their first win since 2016 in Week 8. And in Week 9, the program hosted a game on its campus for the first time.

While the WIAA and athletic directors around the state figure out reclassification — Fort Vancouver might become a Class 2A school — the football team will remain an independent, Ensley said.

“We’ve got to get a guy in here who is a kid magnet who wants to build,” Ensley said. “It’s a thing we’ll have to build and continue to build with the kids and the community.”

Lomax thanked his players for their work under him.

“I loved all of them who came out and stuck with it,” he said. “They’re warriors in so many ways.”


About The Author

Paul Valencia joins 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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