Mark Oliverio’s second stint as head coach starts out with a special feeling
Is Mark Oliverio the new coach at Hudson’s Bay football?
Or just the former coach, making what he hopes will be a triumphant return?
Let’s call it a little of both.
“I’ve been treated really well by the staff, the administration, by the players. It’s a homecoming,” Oliverio said Wednesday afternoon, the first official day of high school football practice in Washington. “It’s been good to be around people I’m familiar with. I’ve been welcomed very warmly.”
As he should be after what Oliverio accomplished in his first run as the Eagles football coach.
Hudson’s Bay had won three games total in the previous four seasons before Oliverio became the coach in 2015. The Eagles won two games that year. Then Bay went 6-4 in 2016, the first winning season since 2002.
The Eagles were winners once again.
Oliverio’s career outside of coaching was soaring, too. But his job demanded a huge change. He moved to Kentucky, leaving the Eagles after just two seasons.
Oliverio moved back to Clark County and returned to coaching, too. He was the head coach at Battle Ground last year.
But then the Hudson’s Bay job opened again. Oliverio said he could not pass up the opportunity to come back to the Eagles.
“I feel like this school, the tradition, the history … sports mean a lot to this community,” Oliverio said. “I feel like I’m making a difference every single day with this group of kids, with this school. That’s why you want to do this, when you’re feeling that what you’re doing is actually impacting people in a positive way. That makes it rewarding.”
None of today’s Eagles played for Oliverio. But they know what he did for the program. They are confident, together, they will be successful.
“I love him. He’s a great coach. He’s like a dad to me sometimes,” senior Mateo Varona said. “He keeps me accountable, keeps everybody accountable.”
Varona said the number of players in the program is up, with a sense of optimism spreading throughout the team.
“It’s good to have him back. The energy he came here with, it was different,” Varona said. “It was most definitely different. Everybody felt it. As soon as he came back, everybody wanted in, everybody bought into it.”
Varona said the Eagles are looking to keep the numbers up, ensuring a bright future. Plus, this year, he wants a winning record and a potential playoff berth.
And, of course, it is always fun to consider the possibilities on the first day of practice.
“It’s really special. This is my last first practice,” Varona said, being a senior. “It’s really special having all these guys out here. It’s a brotherhood out here.”
Oliverio said it sure does feel like he is with family. He, too, appreciates the first official day, as well.
“It’s a new beginning. Everyone starts off on an even playing field. Every team out there is oh-and-oh. We haven’t made any great plays. We haven’t made any mistakes. It’s a white canvas,” Oliverio said. “The things we do, the decisions we make, the actions we take as players and coaches, that’s what ultimately ends up in the results. That’s what I like.”
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