Bellingham football coach Steve Wilson resigns

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDNovember 12, 2013 

Steve Wilson stepped down as head coach of the Bellingham Red Raiders football team.

ANDY BRONSON — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Bellingham football coach Steve Wilson has resigned after two seasons of leading the Red Raiders football program, Athletic Director Chad Larsen said.

Wilson's resignation comes on the heels of an 0-10 season in which Bellingham averaged 10.7 points per game and allowed 46 points per game. The Red Raiders were 1-19 during Wilson's two years at the helm.

Larsen was unsure of Wilson's specific reason for leaving but said he thought Wilson realized it was a good time to leave. Wilson was unable to be reached by phone for comment.

"I know we were absolutely grateful for the time he did spend with our young men," Larsen said in a phone interview. "He is an outstanding mentor and 100 percent integrity, and our kids are going to be better men for it down the road."

Those endearing qualities, and the fact he was in-building, drove Larsen to pursue Wilson two years ago, said the Bellingham AD.

But on-field success just never materialized during Wilson's tenure.

Early injuries decimated the team and as few as 25 players suited up for late-season home games.

"We talk about how it's not all about winning and losing, it's about competition and getting kids out, and I think for any football program, including us, we want competition, and a lot plays into that," Larsen said. "Some of that is within our control and some of that is outside our control."

The Red Raiders are a combined 3-27 since 2011. They went 5-6 in 2010, were 5-4 in 2008 and last made the state playoffs in 2007, finishing with a 7-5 record.

Larsen clearly pointed out Bellingham needs to generate more excitement about its football program. While the Red Raiders' cross country, tennis, swimming, soccer and volleyball teams have all enjoyed recent success, football has struggled.

"We are good at a lot of things, and certainly that is appealing to a lot of the kids," Larsen said. "Football is a contact sport. It's difficult, and for some kids, that's too big of a hurdle when they can see success quicker doing other things. We are trying to promote the multi-sport athlete. We are encouraging our kids to try two or three sports."

Larsen didn't set a new-hire date, but he said he doesn't want to put off the decision, adding the earlier Bellingham hires, the more time coach and players have to get acquainted. Larsen also laid out certain qualities he'd like Bellingham's new coach to have.

"I think the obvious ones are knowledge of the game and willingness to take on a challenge," he said, "but more than anything else, someone who is going to draw kids, someone who is going to be a kid-magnet. We want somebody these kids will run through brick walls for and who is fun to play for."

Besides hiring a new coach, Larsen said he's looking to be creative with the program and think outside the box to boost turnout and success in the sport.

"In two years' time, we want to get back to being competitive," Larsen said. "That's my goal. We want the kids that are coming out to get the results that they've worked so hard to get."

Reach Andrew Lang at andrew.lang@bellinghamherald.com or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.

PLAYOFF PAIRINGS

FOOTBALL

CLASS 2A STATE PLAYOFFS

Friday, Nov. 15

? Kingston at Lynden (at Civic Stadium), 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 16

? Sehome at Tumwater, 7 p.m.

CLASS 1A STATE PLAYOFFS

Saturday, Nov. 16

? Meridian at Cashmere, 1 p.m.

? Woodland at Mount Baker (at Civic Stadium), 6 p.m.

? Blaine at La Center, 2 p.m.

CLASS 1B TRI-DISTRICT PLAYOFFS

Saturday, Nov. 16

? Taholah at Lummi, 2 p.m.

Reach ANDREW LANG at andrew.lang@bellinghamherald.com or call ext. 862.

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