Siuslaw begins search for new football coach

Jamin Pool, who was head coach of Siuslaw's football program during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, resigned Monday — Ned Hickson/Siuslaw News

With his third season as Siuslaw High School’s head football coach on the horizon, Jamin Pool informed principal Kerri Tatum this past Monday that his horizon would be taking him away from the helm of the Vikings.

“Jamin let me know that he was moving out of the area for personal reasons,” said Tatum, who expressed that his personal plans for the future were exciting and “something [she] was happy for.”

Pool served as offensive coordinator for two seasons under long-time head coach Tim Dodson before taking over the program following Dodson’s retirement in 2016. During his time as head coach, Pool was the subject of some criticism. Between the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Siuslaw went 3-13 overall, including 1-7 last season, during which Pool issued a rare forfeit to Far West League opponent North Bend on Sept. 22 with the support of Tatum and athletic director Chris Johnson.

The decision came as a result of safety concerns related to Siuslaw’s relative youth and size disparity compared to North Bend’s line-up; of Siuslaw’s 28-man roster, 20 were either freshmen or sophomores, with only two returning seniors.

By comparison, the Bulldogs’ roster of juniors and seniors alone included 28 players — half of the team’s 47-man line-up.

Those concerns, coupled with an OSAA districting formula that many school administrators felt needed re-vamping, motivated the choice to forfeit. The decision drew negative reaction from some fans and support from others.

“There’s always a certain level of risk when it comes to sports, but this was more like throwing our freshmen and sophomores to the wolves,” Pool said last September. “Not acknowledging that and putting the safety of our kids first would be wrong, no matter how unpopular.”

The Vikings went on to finish the season with one win, defeating Brookings-Harbor 31-26 in the final game.

“I think [Jamin] took over the program at a tough time,” said Johnson, who cited lower participation from upperclassmen and a lack of balanced competition within the league as some of the challenges faced by the program over the last two years. “He had to make some difficult, unpopular decisions but always had the player’s best interest in mind. And he always managed to handle himself with dignity and professionalism.”

With preliminary preparations for the 2018 football season getting underway in June, include a shift to the 3A division and the OSAA’s newly established five-team Special District 2 this fall, the search for a head coach is in high gear.

“We’ve already been on the phones and have the position listed on a service for athletic directors,” said Johnson. “The football program is really important to our community, so we are trying to find the best candidates possible.”

According to the school district website, a strong work ethic, fundamental knowledge of football and positive communication skills are among the top criteria being sought for the position, which also requires proper OSAA certifications prior to coaching.

“We are looking for a dynamic teacher and coach that will move Siuslaw forward and build up a program that has had a lot of success over the years,” said Tatum, who added that “Siuslaw athletics are a source of pride for our school and community.”

When asked about his decision to depart, Pool said he didn’t want to talk about the specifics behind his decision, but that it was “bitter-sweet.”

“The players I had are amazing young men,” Pool said of the players he coached during his four years with the program, and particularly those freshmen and sophomores he hopes will return as juniors and sophomores in the fall. “With the new league, I believe that they have a chance to be very successful.”

The deadline for applications is Friday, April 20.

For more information, visit the Siuslaw School District website at www.siuslaw.k12.or .us and click on the “employment” tab.


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