A change at the top
A big change took place last week, and Canby High football was the focus.
On Friday, Nov. 9, Canby High School administration made the decision not to renew the contract of Canby football head coach Mike Vaught for the 2019 season. This decision comes weeks after the football team wrapped up an 0-9 season. Despite the season's record, Canby High School principal Greg Dinse says there were more factors at play.
"Input from parents, athletes, (and) community members led us to need to make a change," Dinse said. "We took input from all sources and looked for commonalities. We decided that this is the time to make a change."
The meeting on Nov. 9 was preceded by two other meetings where the future of the football program was discussed, according to Dinse.
The head coaching position will be posted early next year, according to Dinse. There are no changes to the assistant coaching personnel at this time, though that may change next year when a new head coach is chosen.
"Assistant coaches are also a year-to-year contract that is created with guidance from the head coach and athletic department," Dinse said. "Once we have a head coach in place, the coach will meet with the athletic department and each coach individually to determine the next steps for the upcoming season."
Vaught was not happy with the decision. The longtime coach had been involved with Canby football for 28 years, and had wanted to see the team through the 2019 season.
"I am very upset about how the whole thing ended up, to have our interim AD (activities director) and principal call me into the office and tell me I am fired was not the way I thought I would end my 28-year coaching career at Canby," Vaught said via email to the Herald. "I know that in the coaching world you are judged by your wins and losses and nothing else. College coaches and NFL coaches are fired all the time, but high school is different.
"I know what I do for kids and how much time I put into helping them any way I (could)," Vaught continued, "not just on the field but in the classroom and in life, and I guess that just doesn't matter."
Vaught had planned on coaching his last years at Canby. If he were to get other offers, he said it would be difficult to consider coaching elsewhere.
The football team had struggled for the last few years, going 9-37 since 2014 started. The struggles the team encountered in that time are what Vaught believes is a lack of funding relative to its in-league competition.
"I could go on and on but people can just drive around to the other schools in our league and the surrounding areas and see what they have compared to us," Vaught said. "Our programs are just not funded. Football has no uniform budget or any budget to buy any helmets or shoulder pads, no money for any equipment that is needed, much less anything else the program needs to survive. The district pays for a minimal amount of coaches and pays for officials and transportation."
While Vaught was not happy with the decision, one thing both Dinse and he recognized was the former head coach's dedication to his athletes and students.
"We appreciate all the work Mike has done for Canby High School in developing the student athletes over the years," Dinse said. "He truly cared about each student and made a positive impact on our community. We look forward to having important conversations with all parties about how to best build our athletic programs."