The Cottage Grove High School head football coaching search took an important next step in the process: the hiring of a principal and athletic director/assistant principal at the school.
Last week, the two positions were filled by Kevin Herington as principal and Matt Myers as athletic director/assistant principal, which means the Lions are now on track to hire a new coach.
With the departure of current principal Mike Ingman and assistant principal/athletic director Gary Roberts from CGHS, combined with Jordan Johnson stepping down as head coach after being hired in February, the administration wanted to let the new administration make their own call on the head coaching position - with some assistance.
“We posted the job, we’ve done interviews and now we’ve forwarded that on – it’s sitting in a packet waiting to be handed to a new principal for him or her to look at the recommendations of the committee and make a decision from there,” said Roberts. “Whether he or she wants to do the first choice, the second choice, open it back up, that’s up to him or her and Matt Myers, the new athletic director.”
Myers, who was present during the interviews, stressed the importance of making the right decision.
“When we hire the new principal, that’s going to be one of the first conversations I have with them. Here are some folks, we need to make a decision because I know the community is feeling anxious, understandably anxious because it’s a big one,” said Myers last Thursday, before Herington was announced as principal.
The hiring committee included an assistant football coach, a parent, a current football player, an administrator and a building employee. And in that group, Myers was keen on deferring to the judgement of those who have been around the program.
“Whatever I recommend is going to be what you guys want. That’s going to drive most of my decisions. I haven’t been here for three, five, seven, 10 years and so when a parent or player or staff member says, ‘I like this candidate,’ I’m going to go with that,” said Myers.
The decision on the new head coach is expected to be made in the two weeks which, Roberts notes, will keep the Lions on track.
“I think if you can get somebody on board by the beginning of July when the summer weight stuff starts happening after July 4, that’s probably pretty good,” he said “Probably the biggest challenge for whoever comes in, the immediate challenge is, the two things that jump out to me are building a staff and getting the kids rallied back. ‘Hey, alright, we’ve got new coaches, let’s get together, let’s get going.’”
Roberts coached the Lions for the last 11 seasons and announced he was stepping down from the head coaching position last January. In April he announced his departure from the school at the end of the year and he is heading to Coos Bay to be assistant principal at his alma mater, Marshfield.
In February, Johnson, who has been a key part of the CGHS coaching staff for the last three seasons, was brought on to be head coach. In early June, the head coaching position was posted on the district website as Johnson is now heading to Eugene to be an assistant coach at Sheldon and, according to Roberts, he will also be teaching math at the school.
“There’s a lot of knowns (at Sheldon) and with the administration shakeup here, there’s a lot of unknowns. I’d say there are a variety of things that played into it,” said Roberts. “Jordan went through the process, they offered him a job and he just felt like it was a better fit for him and his family moving forward. These things happen.”