Forrest Sherman takes the reins of Lakeridge football program
The Lakeridge football team is ready to begin its next chapter.
And that next chapter will be led by newly-minted interim head coach Forrest Sherman.
Sherman, 48, was selected in mid-August to lead the Pacers' football program following the departure of former head coach Elvis Akpla on July 31. Akpla, who worked with the program for six years and served as head coach for four, left Lakeridge to take a teaching position in Missouri after his future wife previously accepted an assistant principal position in the same district.
Sherman, who served as Lakeridge defensive coordinator for the past two years after spending 2009-17 as an assistant working with defensive backs at Lake Oswego, said he was very much looking forward to leading the Pacers in 2019. He currently works as campus monitor at Lakeridge.
"Now that I'm in the (head coaching) role, I'm excited about the opportunity," he said. "I'm going to give it 100%. Football is my passion."
Sherman's resume — which includes a couple interesting ties to the Lakeridge football — would certainly indicate his love for the game. After playing football during high school in San Diego, Sherman played his college ball at Lewis & Clark College for former Lakeridge coach Tom Smythe.
"My life has come full circle," Sherman said.
Sherman graduated from Lewis & Clark with a degree in communications, and after that, he pursued his dreams of playing professional football, including a tryout with a Canadian Football League team and 3-4 years trying to make it in the Arena Football League.
Next, he began working in sports performance, initially as an independent contractor, and later, for Nike. He began his coaching career working with defensive backs and leading speed and conditioning training at Central Catholic from 1998-2003. After that, he served as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Lincoln from 2003-09 — where Akpla was one of his players. He was also Lincoln's head track coach during that span.
And finally, he left to join the staff at Lake Oswego, where he also worked part of his tenure as head track coach.
Sherman said that he enjoyed working with Akpla — he described them as "really close" — and knew Akpla was struggling with the decision to leave.
"I knew it was on his mind and on his heart," Sherman said.
After Akpla's departure, which came just 19 days before the start of fall practices, Sherman knew immediately that he would apply for the interim head coaching position.
"I didn't think I could do it, I thought I had to do it and I needed to do it for this program," Sherman said. "I needed to do it for the program and for the players and for the parents."
As daunting as taking on a head coaching position with less than three weeks' notice might be, Sherman said he's nothing but upbeat and looking forward to the 2019 season.
"I'm super excited, more excited than ever," he said. "We've got a solid group of guys working their tails off. They've got the mindset of stepping on the field and playing at the highest level."
The Pacers have been on an upswing over Akpla's final two seasons, going 11-9 overall and reaching the Class 6A state playoffs both years. They finished third in Special District 5 League in 2018 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
That's a trend Sherman would very much like to continue, and while he knows how big the challenge will be in the TRL, his players have adapted to the coaching change just as well and as quickly as Sherman could have hoped.
"Things have been great," he said. "Better than I could've expected, super seamless."
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