VANCOUVER — King’s Way Christian High School has hired a state champion as the head coach of its football program.
Tom Schroeder, who has been an assistant coach at Camas for more than a decade, has been named to the top football position at the small private school.
“I’ve always wanted to be a head coach. I just felt this was the time, the place, the opportunity for me to venture out,” Schroeder said.
Schroeder was part of a staff that guided the Papermakers to an undefeated season in 2016 and the school’s first state championship. Schroeder said it was difficult to say goodbye, especially to Camas head coach Jon Eagle.
“Love him. He is a mentor and a friend. He was happy for me,” Schroeder said. “It’s like a teacher teaching a student. You want that student to be successful. He said he hates losing me but he’s excited for me.”
Ted Buck, the athletic director at King’s Way Christian, said the hiring of Schroeder fills two important roles. One, Schroeder knows his football, especially after 11 seasons with the most successful program in Southwest Washington history – Camas has won 50 consecutive regular-season games. Two, Schroeder is a Christian.
“He is a very caring, positive person,” Buck said. “It’s great to have a person with the integrity of Christ. He’ll be able to carry that right here at King’s Way.”
In fact, that was one of the draws for Schroeder.
“Big time. I love coaching and I love mentoring kids. That’s what I want to keep doing,” Schroeder said. “In a Christian environment and being able to pray on the field … I’m excited about that.”
He added that King’s Way Christian, which plays as a Class 1A school but has Class B enrollment numbers, has a small-town feel in the middle of a city.
Schroeder said that, too, is a benefit but will also present a new challenge for him. As a junior varsity head coach at Camas, he had 60 players to coach. The program at King’s Way might not be big enough to even have a JV team this fall.
“I’ll go over (to King’s Way) and say, ‘Hey, where’s the rest of the team?’ I’ve got to figure out how to scrimmage,” Schroeder said.
Buck said he believes Schroeder will make it work.
“I’m looking at a person who is going to make it exciting to practice and play football, and to be able to improve the game,” Buck said. “We’re going to be a smaller-size team. Build relationships and build the program.”
All first-time head coaches, no matter the size of the program, have learning curves. Schroeder said he will be calling Eagle many times to take in any and all advice.
Schroeder was part of a championship team at Camas.
He hopes to bring that championship mentality to King’s Way Christian.