Forest Grove head football coach Dominic Ferraro is moving to Tualatin.
The first-year Vikings coach was hired Thursday, April 7, to replace the outgoing Timberwolves coach, Dan Lever, who last month accepted the head coaching job at Silverton High School.
Ferraro came to Forest Grove in spring 2021 and led the Vikings to a 4-5 overall record this past fall, following an 0-6 season during the shortened 2021 spring season.
Prior to his time at Forest Grove, the 1995 Jesuit High School graduate was an assistant at Sunset (2006-09, 2016-21), Westview (2010-14) and Grant (2015), acting as an offensive coordinator during nine of those seasons.
The coach said it wasn't easy to leave Forest Grove but cited the opportunity as simply too good to pass up.
"It kind of came out of left field, you know," Ferraro said. "I wasn't really looking to leave Forest Grove. I was enjoying being there and enjoying what we were building, but this (Tualatin and the Three Rivers League) is kind of the SEC of football, and as a coach, you want to be in those situations."
Forest Grove athletic director Doug Thompson said that while Ferraro's departure "came as a complete surprise," the Vikings will now focus on the future of the program and on the mindset necessary for future success.
"Competing in athletics comes with adversity and this is no different," he said in a statement. "We instill in our kids and staff 'Forest Grove Grit.' This is another life lesson, and I'm excited to meet with our student athletes and staff this week and get ready for spring football and ultimately next fall."
Tualatin experienced its best season in program history this past fall, going 12-2 and making it all the way to the 6A state championship game before losing to Central Catholic, 44-14.
Ferraro said he tends to shy away from expectation conversations, but he believes wins come as a result of preparation — and under his leadership, the Timberwolves will prepare.
"For me, the expectations aren't going to be all that different," he said. "We're going to be playing in a really tough league, and we want to make sure we're competing at the highest level, but I believe that you've got to work in the offseason to win games in the fall. A lot of those systems are already in place, so it's about reinforcing it."
Ferraro said he spoke to his Forest Grove players last Thursday prior to his departure.
"That was pretty tough," the coach said. "There were a lot of blank stares looking back at me, but I told them I loved them and that I enjoyed my time, but the opportunity was really hard to pass up."
Ferraro said he believes Forest Grove is in a position to do some good things in the coming season and beyond.
"I just told them they need to focus on the things we were always talking about," Ferraro said. "Buying in, committing and doing your best."
With or without him, the Vikings are on the upswing, Ferraro predicted.
"There's a lot of support from the administration, especially Doug, who does a really good job," the coach said. "We nearly made the playoffs last year, numbers are on the rise, so they've got an opportunity to do some good things if they do the work."
Meanwhile, at Tualatin next season, the Timberwolves will be without a sturdy senior class that included the state's Offensive Player of the Year Malik Ross, quarterback Jackson Jones, and two-way star Cole Prusia — who committed this week to the University of Oregon — along with linemen Charlie Freadman, Lucas Edwards, Brandon Chin and linebacker Kellen Hale. Ferraro knows things will look a little different without those mainstays but is excited to pick up where they left off.
"I've definitely got some big shoes to fill, but I've been around here for a couple days now and everybody is really welcoming and really excited," Ferraro said. "So, I'm just ready to get to work, meet the team and get going."
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