Colin Schaeffer takes over as head football coach at Milwaukie High
As a first-time head coach, Colin Schaeffer landed one of the toughest challenges in all of Oregon high school football as he looks to breath new life into the Milwaukie Mustangs.
Schaeffer, 36, recently was named to replace Jon Wolf, who stepped down in December after a four-year run that ended with the Mustangs reaching the OSAA state playoffs for the first time in 13 seasons.
Although Wolf left on a high note, he left behind a program that has struggled in recent years with low player turnout -- an issue that Schaeffer must tackle first in order to take the program where he would like to see it go.
"It's going to be a long process, but it's something I'm willing to commit to," Schaeffer said. "I think the kids will respond and I think we can get back to doing some great things, but it starts with consistency and stability and people doing things the right way."
Schaeffer is a 1999 graduate of Milwaukie and played offensive guard/linebacker for coach Rick Ward, so he has a unique perspective when it comes to knowing what makes the Mustangs tick.
His coaching resume included stints as an assistant coach in football, wrestling, and track, first at Central High School in Independence and then at Newberg High School, where last season he served as the defensive coordinator on Kevin Hastin's staff with the Tigers.
"Every, single year that I've coached, I've tried to learn from all the coaches that I've worked with," Schaeffer said. "And the vision of me becoming a head coach, I really could only picture that at Milwaukie.
"I can see myself being here for a long time. I know things haven't been great, but I feel like somebody needed to come back and set things right and give these kids an opportunity to show what they're capable of -- just like I felt when I was a kid growing up in Milwaukie."
Schaeffer's arrival coincides with Milwaukie High School going through a multimillion-dollar renovation that will force the football team to take up temporary residence at Alder Creek Middle School.
"It could be two or three years before we're back in the new high school with a new football field," Schaeffer said. "I hope the start of this new era of Milwaukie football is going to have a solid foundation built with good people who are willing to put in the time and commitment for the kids.
"I think one of the big challenges will be getting out into the community and letting people know who I am and what I'm all about. That's how we're going to improve turnout. I want to show the kids how important this program is to people in the community, show the kids where the traditions come from and get them to understand that they're a part of this."
Schaeffer has retained offensive line coach Roland Aumueller and co-offensive coordinator/running backs coach Shane Meyer from Wolf's staff. He also is bringing in Terrell Ayo (defensive backs), Brian Howelton (wide receivers, cornerbacks), Gary Irby (wide receivers), Elijah Price (offensive line, defensive line), Vincent Rininger (safeties, running backs), Dowell Williams (defensive coordinator, linebackers), and Naeem Woods (defensive line).
He also plans to move away from the veer offense that Milwaukie ran under Wolf and introduce the Mustangs to a modified version of the wing-T out the pistol formation, similar to the offense that Hastin ran at Newberg.
"I really like the look of Coach Hastin's offense," Schaeffer said. "I ran the wing-T when I played at Milwaukie and I've always thought the wing-T was a great way to be versatile and keep opposing defenses on their toes."
Spring practice is for all incoming freshmen and high school players is scheduled for June 4-22. Workouts will start in the high school weight room at 3:15 p.m. and then shifting to Alder Creek from 4-5:30 p.m. There also will be a bus from Rowe Middle School for incoming freshmen to make it to practice after school.
The Mustangs also have a free youth spring football camp for players in grades 3-8 that is scheduled to run June 11-22 at Alder Creek from 6-7 p.m
These are non-contact practices, so no gear is required, and first-time players are encouraged to come out and see if the football program is a good fit. The practices are geared toward learning fundamentals with an emphasis on safety and having fun.
"Last year, we had a big group of seniors and the program had a lot of success behind those seniors, but there wasn't a freshman team," Schaeffer said."A lot of the younger players didn't get a lot of experience, so this coming year we're going to have a freshman-sophomore team to give those kids playing time and opportunities to grow and develop, but at the same time making the varsity a top priority.
"I'm looking to put in all together this springs and inject some energy and some enthusiasm into the program. I think there are still people in the community who are really passionate about Milwaukie football and see hope for the program."