Woodland’s Mike Woodward steps down as football coach

After 30 years as a coach, Woodward says he’s ‘worn down’

WOODLAND — After three decades as a high school football coach, Mike Woodward says he’s “worn down.’’ The 48-year-old Woodward resigned his position as head football coach at Woodland High School Friday.

Woodward, a Battle Ground High School graduate, spent three seasons coaching the Beavers, including the 2018 season, during which Woodland posted an 8-2 overall record.

Mike Woodward stepped down Friday as head football coach at Woodland High School. Woodward coached the Beavers for three seasons, including the 2018 campaign during which he guided his team to an 8-2 record. Photo by Mike Schultz
Mike Woodward stepped down Friday as head football coach at Woodland High School. Woodward coached the Beavers for three seasons, including the 2018 campaign during which he guided his team to an 8-2 record. Photo by Mike Schultz

“I’d started having those feelings of being worn down with three decades of the same routine last winter,’’ Woodward wrote in an email he distributed to the media on Friday. “On May 1st, I took the day off and prayed and meditated on my future all day long and made my final decision … I only told my wife, son and daughter, closest friend, and one assistant coach. After that, I gave the program absolutely everything I had for the next seven months … fortunately for us it ended up being one of the best seasons I’ve ever been a part of. After a long season-ending reflection my decision did not change.’’

Woodward started coaching in 1999 at Mountain View High School in Vancouver. He moved on to coach three seasons at Hudson’s Bay High School before moving to California in 2007, where he coached Westview High School for nine seasons. In his three years at Woodland, he had a combined record of 18-11.

“The best way I can describe my feelings are it was like I was stuck running this never-ending marathon and although it’s been an amazing race, I just could not see a finish line,’’ Woodward wrote. “I finally felt as though I needed to make that finish line myself or I never would.’’

Woodward indicated that he cherished his time coaching the Beavers.

“It had nothing to do with the Woodland players, program, or town … I absolutely love it here,’’ he wrote. “This place from top to bottom has been very good to me and I truly enjoy teaching and living here … it reminds me of growing up in Battle Ground and I have very fond memories of that time.’’

Woodward couldn’t guarantee that he won’t coach again, but he said it feels like he’s done.

“I would like to say I am retiring from coaching but I would hate to say that and be the guy back on the sidelines a few years later,’’ he wrote. “At this point in my life, I honestly can’t picture myself coaching again, but at the same time, who knows maybe I’ll end up an assistant coach or running a program years down the road. I won’t say I’m officially done till they bury me but it sure feels like I’ve coached my last one.

“I feel like I just finally need a break and at this point it feels permanent,’’ he added. “I have no idea what the future holds for me but I’m excited to try new things … most importantly I need that quality time with my children and granddaughter, petting goats and feeding chickens without my iPad in the other hand watching Hockinson film.’’

Woodward expressed thanks for his interaction with the parents of his Woodland players.

“I’m probably one of the few coaches in the state that has nothing but positive things to say about their parents,’’ he wrote. “Mine were absolutely amazing for all three years … I did not have a single parent issue during my entire time here. Zero complaints! That’s unheard of. Parents now-a-days spend hours writing emails complaining about playing time while sipping their mochas while ours at Woodland come to the games wearing flannel and drinkin’ plain black coffee from a thermos. I will miss that dearly!’’

Woodward sounded like a coach and former player who was more than a tad weary from a long career with the sport of football.

“Twenty years is a long time to run a program,’’ he wrote. “Plus, four years as an assistant and another 10 as a player and that’s 34 years straight of never having a season off … and I never could find a way to turn the football button off during the off-season either. That was a major driving force … the off-season of not being able to engage with family and other things in my life without thinking about my players or program in the back of my mind.’’

Woodward is at peace with the fact that the Woodland program will be ready to continue its success with a new coach.

“The program is in tremendous shape,’’ he added. “Coming off an amazing 8-2 season, a 6-2 JV team and an excellent youth program ran by an ultra-supportive parent. Perfect small-town and community for an outstanding program run the right way. I honestly could not think of a single negative thing to say. Great administration, incredible coaching staff, good ole fashion tough kids, state-of-the-art facilities … the next coach will be extremely lucky.’’


About The Author

Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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