by Chris Park & Marcus Miller
It’s been a busy off season for local head football coaches. We break down the who, what, when, where and speculate on the why below:
SHELDON (6A): Local high school player and former Oregon Duck fullback Josh Line was named the new head coach of the Irish this past spring following the retirement of Lane Johnson. Line played for Springfield High before transferring for his senior year to Marshfield. He played for the Ducks from 1999-2001. He was an assistant at Marshfield and head coach of the Pirates for the past four years. The Marshfield connection continues at Sheldon with coach Line the third consecutive coach with ties to the Pirates. Irish assistant coaches and teachers Tyler Martell and Les Phillipo were also candidates for the position. Sheldon has also benefited from some high profile off season transfers as new Oregon football coach Willie Taggart has assembled his staff. Oregon Duck Assistant coaches Michael Johnson (Wide Receivers) and Raymond Woodie (Outside Linebackers/Special Teams Coordinator) have high school age sons who have enrolled at Sheldon when their dad’s joined Taggart’s staff. Michael Johnson, Jr., is the number one ranked dual threat quarterback in the class of 2019 who has 17 D1 offers. That number will likely grow as he still has two years of high school football to play. Fellow Class of 2019 athlete Raymond Woodie, III, has moved with his father and family to Eugene and will attend Sheldon. RW3 (I just made that up, I don’t know if that works or not) can play multiple positions, including quarterback, safety, corner, and wide receiver. Finally, Willie Taggart, Jr., (Class of 2020) has an offer from his father and Oregon and will attend Sheldon. He is listed as a quarterback and just completed his freshman year at Tampa Catholic. It will very interesting to watch how coach Line steps in to lead the Irish, develop his coaching staff and manage all this talent, not to mention those meddling dads who think they know everything about football and want their sons to play quarterback.
PLEASANT HILL (3A): Scott Phelps coached the Harrisburg Eagles to a 2016 3A State Championship and has now left Harrisburg to teach and coach at 3A league rival, Pleasant Hill. A full-time teaching position was the deciding factor here for coach Phelps. The Billies and Eagles have had a good natured rivalry over the years and this will certainly keep that going.
HARRISBURG (3A): Former North Eugene head coach and recent Marist assistant coach Edmund Rivera returns to coach at Harrisburg, the school where he got his start in coaching. Coach Rivera is a former Oregon Duck quarterback (1981-1984) and coached at Harrisburg from 1986 to 1997.
SPRINGFIELD (5A): Former Boise State football player and Toledo Boomers (3A) Coach Jon Helmandollar had big plans for the Millers but after only one season left to take a teaching and coaching position with Hillsboro High School. Due to staffing changes, Helmandollar lost his teaching position at Springfield. Former Marist and Springfield assistant coach Adam Jones steps in to guide the Millers on an interim basis for the 2017 season. Jones is a former Portland State offensive linemen (1997-2001) and was an assistant on Dave Heuberger’s Roseburg Indians staff last season. This will be the first head coaching opportunity for Jones. It will be interesting to see how he builds his staff. Will we see Jones and former Miller quarterback Trever Watson team up again?
CENTRAL LINN (2A): Stick with us on this one while we sort this all out. This past spring and summer, Dusty Birchfield left the Cobra football program to work on the staff of Jon Helmandollar at Springfield High, but when Coach Helmandollar lost his teaching position at Springfield and moved on to Hillsboro High, Coach Birchfield decided to return to his alma mater at Elmira as an assistant. Whew! So, enter Jed Leeper who will coach the Central Linn football team. Coach Leeper played linebacker at the University of Central Missouri. Most recently, he was an assistant coach at both South Salem and Stayton. Central Linn has had some good teams the last few years in a really tough 2A conference. It will be very interesting to watch the Cobras in this transition.
Have we missed something? Prep Talk Eugene is a fan of all levels of football from 1A to 6A. If you know of any head coaching changes that we did not cover, just drop us an email (email@example.com) or contact us via Twitter (@preptalkeugene).