Lions Football Looking for New Leader

The Cottage Grove Lions football team will be looking for a new head coach to lead the program into 2023 and beyond. This comes after coach Joe Polamalu resigned as head coach last week.

“Today Coach P [Polamalu], myself and Mr. Bridgens [Cottage Grove High School Athletic Director] met with the players at lunch time for Coach P to formally announce his resignation from head football coach at CGHS. Though the players were shocked and saddened, Coach encouraged them to keep working hard and building their bond on and off the field. Mr. Bridgens will begin the process to find a new head coach soon,” the team said in a statement on their Facebook page.

Polamalu went just 1-18 in his time as Lions coach, inheriting a team which had suffered through a hazing incident the year prior to his arrival under different leadership. Participation numbers were low following the incident and the COVID-19 pandemic likely didn’t help participation numbers either.

But in the 2022 football season, there were more than 50 students who participated in the football program, close to the same numbers the team saw during the 2017 season when the Lions won the state championship.

Cottage Grove plans to begin searching for its next leader without delay, according to Lions athletic director Bridgens.

“We want to move on it as quickly as possible. Cottage Grove has a rich history of football, a recent, successful history. We have amazing facilities and, most importantly, we have awesome kids and football players who are committed,” Bridgens said. “I’m going to work with them and listen to them about the qualities they are looking for in a new coach. A couple of the players will be part of the process of the hiring. We want to get it done and get a coach in place so we can try and build and get back to that amazing, rich history.”