A pair of Columbia County high school coaches received high honors at an Oregon Athletic Coaches Association (OACA) awards banquet held last month at the University of Oregon at Eugene.
The National Federation of State High School Associations awarded Scappoose High football coach Sean McNabb with the 2021 Oregon football "Coach of the Year" across all divisions of nearly 300 participating schools.
Similar honors went to St. Helens High School coach Dave Lawrence, who was named boys golf "Coach of the Year" for a multi-state area that includes Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.
Speaking with the Spotlight, McNabb and Lawrence offered their thoughts on the special designations.
McNabb said, "I feel very honored and very blessed to be recognized by other people, but there's so much that goes into it."
McNabb continued, "I have such a great staff and if I've done anything well, I think it's assembling a great group of guys that do an excellent job with young men, coaching them. I would never have been nominated or picked if it wasn't for the great coaches I have with me, the support that I get from the parents and the administration in Scappoose."
McNabb spoke of the "high character level" of kids on his football squad.
"We have great kids out there," McNabb said. "We have a lot of great athletes and just a lot of really solid high character-level kids, and that's a huge reflection on their parents. It's great being recognized. I never got into coaching to win awards, and things like that, but it's nice to be recognized."
Lawrence, who has been boys golf coach at St. Helens for 19 years, was also happy to receive the Coach of the Year honor.
'It's really an honor," Lawrence said. "Obviously, there are so many people that you want to give credit to when you get something like that, probably starting with my wife for putting up with me for doing this for nearly 20 years, and supporting me."
Lawrence, who was born and reared in St. Helens, said, "The whole community has supported me since I was a little kid, until even today and they continue to do that, so I love this town."
Lawrence took over for Joe Perry, who was the golf coach for many years at St. Helens High.
"I golfed with Joe probably 15 years before then, when he first moved to town," Lawrence recalled. "I knew that the St. Helens program, with Joe as the coach, would play hard, but they would play by the rules and they would play with integrity. I thought that was a great basis to build from when I became the golf coach."
Lawrence also gives kudos to his athletic directors over the years.
"They have always been supportive," Lawrence said, also noting that the St. Helens Booster Club has been supportive.
"If we need golf bags, rain gear or equipment for our practice range, they're Johnny on the spot for us," he said.
About 20 to 25 boys are on the golf team each year at St. Helens High.
As both coaches get ready for upcoming seasons, McNabb remains excited about his team as it enters a new phase.
"I'm really excited," he said. "We're moving into a new conference … We've been up to 5A for the last four years, so we're moving back down to 4A in the Cowapa. I'm really excited about that. We're playing some old rivals. We have some really good players coming back."
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