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2A Football: Whitmire Steps Down as Tiger Football Coach

Centralia coach Matt Whitmire celebrates with his players after a Jose Pineda touchdown in the first quarter during a nonleague 2A football game against Sequim at Tiger Stadium in Centralia on Friday.

By Aaron VanTuyl


Matt Whitmire will no longer be the head football coach at Centralia High School.

Whitmire, who coached the Tigers for the past four seasons, announced on Wednesday that he’s stepping down from the head gridiron position at Lewis County’s largest high school.

“At the end of the day, a big part of this is wins and losses,” Whitmire, who took over the program in 2013, said. “I thought we’d be further along than where we are, and I’m accountable for that. It’s not what I envisioned when I took it over four years ago, and I honestly believe it’s time for a new voice.”

The Tigers went 14-22 during Whitmire’s four-year tenure with the program, though he inherited a team that had gone winless in 2012. Centralia was 3-6 in 2016 with a 1-4 record in the Evergreen 2A Conference.

“The administration here is committed to building a winner, and will do right by the kids,” Whitmire said, adding that athletic director Scott Chamberlain and principal Josh Lowe had been great to work with. “At the end of the day, I think this is the right decision.”

Whitmire, who is a counselor at Centralia High School, said this coming fall will be the first time in 37 years he hasn’t been on the sidelines or on the playing field during football season. With the newfound open scheduled, he has plans to take his father to a Louisiana State/Alabama football game in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 4.

“There’s a lot of things coaches, regardless of whatever sport you’re in, don’t get to cross off on your bucket list,” Whitmire said. “I lost my brother to cancer a year ago, and it’s really given me a different perspective on things. I’m going to take advantage of this and really dive in.”

While he’s also planning on working towards his national certification for school counseling, he added that he wants to “see what it’s like to be a fan for the first time in 37 years.”

Whitmire, a 1987 Tenino graduate, played quarterback at Iowa State University, and before taking the Centralia job had coached football at Pe Ell and White Salmon.

Whitmire also thanked Tiger football boosters Brandi Morgan and Vickie Jackson for their work on behalf of the program.

“Their kids have all come through this program,” Whitmire said, “and even though their kids have exited the program, they’ve just been tremendous assets to the kids of the program here.”

The resignation will be put before the Centralia School District’s board of directors at their Feb. 15 meeting, after which the open head football coach position will be posted.

There’s no set timeline for the hiring process, according to Chamberlain, though hiring matters for the next school year typically ramp up in April.

“I think we’ll have a lot of interest. We’ve got some assistant coaches in our building that have coached outside our building or have coached here in the past that will show interest,” Chamberlain said. “And I think we’ve got those small-school coaches outside the building that will probably drum up some interest.”

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