Woodland football: New head coach ready for challenge

Garrett Lutgen has been promoted from within the staff

Garrett Lutgen said he is ready for the challenge of being the next head coach of the Woodland High School football program.

He is ready, in fact, because of the former head coach.

Garrett Lutgen, who was the JV coach at Woodland this past fall, has been named the head coach for the program. Photo courtesy of Garrett Lutgen
Garrett Lutgen, who was the JV coach at Woodland this past fall, has been named the head coach for the program. Photo courtesy of Garrett Lutgen

“We’re not rebuilding or reloading. We’re carrying on with what was Woody’s plan,” Lutgen said, referring to Mike Woodward, who resigned recently after three years as the head coach. “He is an icon to us on the football staff. He is a football Yoda.”

In that spirit, do or do not. There is no try.

Now it is time for Lutgen to take over the program.

Lutgen was named the head coach last week. He started coaching at Woodland in 2014, in charge of middle school football. Last year, he was the junior varsity coach. This will be his first varsity head coaching job.

“I was really just humbled at having the opportunity,” Lutgen said. “This program means a great deal to me. I’m just dedicated to these kids.”

Lutgen has known all of next season’s seniors, juniors, and sophomores from their days in middle school.

“I was able to get to know all of them personally,” Lutgen said. “We set some goals back then that I really wanted to see the kids achieve.”

Woodland athletic director Paul Huddleston said the transition should be smooth because of Lutgen’s relationship with the players.

Lutgen has “a knack for maximizing the potential of his athletes and teams,” Huddleston said. “His ability to motivate and lead will allow us to continue to build on the solid program we already have in place,” he added.

The AD compared him Lutgen as a combination of Pete Carroll, the coach of the Seahawks, and Jon Gruden, the coach of the Raiders. A passion for the game and will “definitely bring an edge.”

The program, Lutgen said, is more than football. He said he wants to give the players the tools to lead their own families long after they have graduated from Woodland.

Lutgen played for Liberty High School in Issaquah. He moved to Southwest Washington 13 years ago for work. Today, he is a sales executive for a Fortune 500 supply chain company. He works from home, and his flexible schedule will be beneficial to the workings of a football program.

Woodland went 8-2 this past fall, finishing second in the Class 2A Greater St. Helens League.

About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com 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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