It didn’t take long for Ferndale High School to figure out it had something special in Doug Pederson.
After watching him lead the freshman team in 1982, former Ferndale football coach Vic Randall called the sophomore up to start at quarterback for the varsity squad in 1983. In his first start, Randall recalls him throwing an interception on his first varsity pass attempt.
“I went up to him after that and put my arm around him and told him it would be all right,” said Rick Brudwick, who is a cousin of Pederson and started his assistant coaching career at Ferndale that same year. “He looked at me and said, ‘Of course it will be all right, and I’m going to throw a lot more of ’em.’”
Randall said he remembers marveling over how calm and collected the sophomore was, saying “He had that ‘it’ factor.”
It’s a trait that has served Pederson well, as it carried him to a collegiate career at Northwest Louisiana (now Louisiana-Monroe), a 10-year NFL playing career as a backup QB for Miami, Green Bay, Philadelphia and Cleveland, and through a number of assistant coaching positions. He’s currently the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs, who will face New England in the AFC Divisional Round at 1:35 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16.
On Thursday, Jan. 14, multiple media outlets reported that Pederson, who was born in Bellingham in 1968, will be named the 23rd head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, succeeding Chip Kelly. The move cannot become official until after the Chiefs finish their season.
I think it’s a great honor for him. He worked hard and put in his time to get there.
Rick Brudwick, cousin of Doug Pederson, who is expected to be the next coach of the Philadelphia Eagles
“I have a lot of respect for the organization and what they’re doing there,” Pederson said Wednesday, Jan. 13.
Pederson was a three-year starter for the Golden Eagles before graduating in 1986. Ferndale was 24-6 during his three seasons, advancing to the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs in 1983 and the state quarterfinals his senior year.
He was an outstanding leader and player. He also had that outstanding presence and composure. He didn’t get rattled easy. You put those intangibles together, and it’s someone special.
Former Ferndale football coach Vic Randall on former player Doug Pederson
The Golden Eagles didn’t pass much in the mid 1980s, as Pederson had a career total of 1,794 yards passing, 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Because of that, Randall said, college scouts asked to see his arm strength when they came out to practice, so the team would have him throw routes from one hash mark to other side of the field.
“He was a confident kid, and everything he tackled he was successful at,” Brudwick said. “He studied and understood the game differently than a lot of kids his age did.”
But Pederson had more than just good football knowledge, Randall said. He also had a determination — something that carried him down a long, winding road to an NFL head coaching position.
11 Years Doug Pederson spent coaching — four as head coach at Calvary Baptist Academy, four as an assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles and the past three as offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs — before earning an NFL head coaching position with the Eagles
“It’s neat to see those things take place,” Randall said. “I’ve kept in touch with him and followed his progress, and it’s been fun to watch him hang in there and persevere for so long. Now he’s going to be the coach in Philadelphia, and that is awesome.”
It’s another reason for the Ferndale community to be proud, Randall said.
“People in Ferndale have been following Doug for a long, long time, and I think we’re all fortunate for that opportunity,” Randall said.