There are six new head coaches in Clark County high school football this season
Editor’s note – In a five-part series, Clark County Today reporter Paul Valencia takes a look this week at new football coaches at Columbia River, Heritage, King’s Way Christian, Mountain View and Seton Catholic high schools.
The first week of high school football practice can be a challenge for all coaches, even the most experienced ones.
There is a lot to coordinate, after all.
For new head coaches, that first week is a milestone, even if it is a little crazy.
There are six new head coaches in Clark County this year. Two have been head coaches before, while four got their first experiences of being in charge when the whistles blew for the first time, officially, for football practice.
Oh, most of the coaches have been working with their new players during the offseason workouts, spring and summer drills. But last Wednesday was the first official day of football practice.
We visited all six new head coaches and their football programs last week. We also talked to a team leader from five of the schools. Here is an update on how things are going with the transitions at Columbia River, Heritage, King’s Way Christian, Mountain View, Seton Catholic and Union.
Columbia River Rapids
New coach: DeWayne Patterson
Patterson was not yet named the head coach but as a longtime assistant for the Rapids, he made sure the players kept to a workout schedule early in the offseason after the job opened. Just before spring break, Patterson was named the head coach.
“I was just trying to make sure the kids were staying in shape, and I was staying in shape as a coach, to be ready for whatever happened,” Patterson said.
That made it an easier transition, he said. He was already there, and remained involved, even before the hire.
Senior Tommy Blau said it seemed like the hiring process took forever.
“Once DP got the nod, I was comfortable,” Blau said. “I felt relieved because it’s a guy I knew and a guy I trust who has been coaching me the past three years. We just jumped right into it. It’s a different culture. You can feel it, and I’m loving it so far.”
Patterson said as an assistant head coach in the past, he did not have to communicate as much with parents. Now, he is the face and voice of the program. He is grateful to have the parents he has, though.
“This week has been pretty fun,” he said Friday, Day 3 of the Patterson era at Columbia River. “The parents have been helping me out a lot. They’ve made it easy and less stressful for me. My admin team has been awesome, making sure I have everything I need.”
As far as season expectations, Patterson believes this is a playoff team. He has 27 seniors, many who will be three-year starters. He knows it is rare for a new head coach to walk into a program with that much experience.
The 2A Greater St. Helens League is competitive. Patterson and Blau are not guaranteeing a league title. But there is a potential to compete.
“We’re trying to win the entire thing, get us a league championship,” Blau said. “It’s been too long.”
New coach: Kevin Coad
Coad was hired so late in the process — in July — that Clark County Today waited to meet with him until the first day of football practice. We filed this report on his first day and his hiring: Kevin Coad wants to be longtime head coach for Union Titans, not just ‘interim’.
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