Sports

Enumclaw High lands new football coach

Mark Gunderson, who has been on the football staff at four high schools in seven seasons, has realized his dream of landing a head coaching job.

It was announced last week the 30-year-old Gunderson has been chosen to take the reins of the Enumclaw High program.

“This has been my long-term goal,” he said of running a program of his own.

Gunderson is a defensive-minded sort, figuring if the opponent is kept off the scoreboard winning becomes much easier. He said Hornet fans shouldn’t expect to see a lot of wild offense shootouts under his regime.

“We’re going to have a rock-solid defense,” Gunderson said.

He was a three-sport athlete at Sumner High graduate who made the most of an opportunity to play for legendary coach Frosty Westering at nearby Pacific Lutheran University. He spent five years with the Lutes – including a redshirt season – and wound up as a three-year starter. His final two seasons, Gunderson garnered all-conference honors.

His first job was under Keith Ross at Sumner High and he coached two years with his alma mater. From there, Gunderson spent the 2007 season at Kent-Meridian, sharing defensive coordinator duties and overseeing special teams; in 2008 and 2009, he was at Kentlake, working with defensive backs, running backs and wide receivers; and the last two seasons were spent at Foster High School where he served as defensive coordinator. Last year, Foster advanced to the state playoffs for the first time in 22 seasons.

While his focus in on the defensive side of the ball, Gunderson knows what he wants from his offense. He has a coordinator in mind but is waiting to see how other career opportunities shake out before making an announcement.

Gunderson’s offensive system starts with a Power-I backfield with some spread offense thrown in to keep defenses honest. But the intent is to run the ball down opponent’s throats.

“We’re going to be grinders, for sure,” he said.

Gunderson, who will teach physical education and health at EHS, replaces Don Bartel, who resigned in mid-March after four seasons at the top of the Hornet program. Bartel has taken a job as defensive coordinator for the Skyline High program in Issaquah.

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