Clackamas baseball coach John Arntson announces his retirement
Three weeks ago, Clackamas High School baseball coach John Arntson accepted the school's offer to become athletic director and assistant principal at CHS.
It was a promotion to be sure, but Arntson — the school's baseball coach since 1997 — knew the move came with strings attached, the biggest that he could no longer lead the Cavalier baseball team.
The reckoning came Monday, May 17, when Arntson donned his Clackamas uniform for the last home game of his 24-year career. After a couple of his coaches lauded him in a pre-game ceremony, Arntson stepped up to the microphone to address those gathered on this overcast, blustery day.
"I didn't want the focus to be on me today," he said, choking back tears. "I just want to say thank you to everybody. The community support it takes to do this … it takes a village. The village has been there every time."
The Cavaliers' ensuing 2-1 win over powerful Lakeridge was the 419th in Arntson's 24-year career; he added no. 420 when the Cavs beat Tualatin 3-0 on Wednesday, May 19, to end their season with a sterling 16-2 overall record. He will finish just outside the top 25 coaches in Oregon history in all-time wins; however, all but one of those coaches ahead of him on the list spent more time on the bench than Arntson did.
"Coach Arntson is a class act and we're going to miss him on the field," Lakeridge coach Ray Pearson said.
During his tenure, Arntson led Clackamas to nine league titles, 17 state playoff appearances, seven state semifinals, five state championship games and three state titles — in 2008, 2010 and 2017.
Monday's ceremony concluded with the announcement that Arntson's no. 9 jersey would be retired, never to be worn again by another Clackamas player or coach.
Clearly moved, Arntson hugged his coaches, his players and his loved ones before returning to the dugout to retrieve the lineup card and deliver it to home plate. He coached with emotion for seven innings and pushed the right buttons to get his team a come-from-behind win.
"I'm going to remember that for a long time," he said afterwards.
Regarding his own accomplishments at CHS, Arntson downplayed his role and instead credited the situation he stepped into back in 1997.
"The school was a sleeping giant when I got here," he said. "I was just a lucky guy from Montana who walked into this situation."
John Tawa writes for OSAAtoday
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