Part 3: Old-school coach understands new way of thinking at Columbia River

David Long will always appreciate the Chieftains, but as he is set to retire after decades of coaching basketball at the school, he understands the change to Rapids.
Longtime basketball coach David Long, who is retiring after this season, respects the name change to Columbia River Rapids, but he will always appreciate Chieftains loyalty.

Retiring coach David Long says ‘Rapids’ will catch on through the years at Columbia River High School

Editor’s note: This is Part 3 of a three-part series. Part 1 was published Wednesday and Part 2 was published Thursday.

As the marketing teacher at Columbia River High School, David Long runs the shop that sells school gear.

Not a whole lot of Rapids stuff is selling right now, he said.

Instead, it is River swag.

And that’s OK for now, Long said.

“Give it three or four years,” he said. “This freshman class came in as Rapids. They’re going to leave as Rapids.”

Change is a good thing, Long said.

Long is in his 30th and final season as the boys basketball coach at the school. He appreciates the history of the Chieftains name.

“I’m old school. I spent 30 years preaching Chieftain loyalty. I always felt this school did it right,” Long said. “We made adjustments over the years. I’ve seen the adjustments we made to make sure that we were honoring.”

Still, he understands a new way of thinking in regard to the name.

“Here’s another litmus test. If I’m an administrator of a school district and I’m building a brand new high school, would I name it Indians? Would I name it Chieftains? I probably wouldn’t, unless I had an agreement with a local tribe,” Long said.

Most of Long’s mementos from his career showcase Chieftains. He will take his prized possessions with him to the home he and his wife Holly are building in Arizona. Chieftain pride will remain with the Long family.

And while he might not fully agree with the name change, he respects it.

“It’s the right thing for the school to do. It is our time that we live in,” Long said.

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