By Ben • Ben Schorzman • 

Hill hired as next Mac football coach

Grizzlies Athletic Director Mark Hinthorn announced Monday that Robin Hill will be the new head football coach at McMinnville High School. Hill is well known around the state and in Salem for the 24 years he spent as the head coach of the Sprague Olympians. He led Sprague to 21 playoff appearances, going 22-20 in the postseason. Hill twice coached the Olympians to the state championship game, including 2004 when the Olympians won.

“We were looking for a coach who exemplified excellence, leadership, and who would further the passion for football at all levels,” Hinthorn said.

“We’re excited to see him lead the Grizzlies to even further heights.”

Hill retired after the 2011-12 school year. Hinthorn said after a season away, Hill got the itch to come back.

“We’re confident Coach Hill has the focus to lead our program,” Hinthorn said. “He thought he had enough. … He realized he still has a lot of gas in the tank.”

The move comes after the Grizzlies spent a season without a permanent coach. Don Rutschman took over in July for outgoing coach Jeff Kearin, who took a job at Occidental College in California after spending two years at Mac. Rutschman coached the Grizzlies to a fourth-place finish in the Pacific Conference and a 5-5 record. Mac also earned its first home playoff game in eight seasons.

Hinthorn said Hill is vacationing in Hawaii with his wife. He was unavailable for comment Monday.

Hinthorn said the decision to keep or let go Mac’s current assortment of assistant coaches will be up to Hill once he returns from vacation, but one assistant position is already open. McMinnville graduate and assistant football coach Luke Buchheit was hired in January by Sprague to be its head baseball coach. Buchheit was the defensive coordinator for the Grizzlies, and Hinthorn said Buchheit told him he will coach in some capacity for the Olympians next fall in football as well.


Mac hires boys golf coach

Former boys golf coach at McMinnville, Jas Carpenter, resigned his position in November to spend more time with his family, Hinthorn said. Monday, Hinthorn hired his replacement.

Chris Brooker, a professional in the community who works in at the Willamette Valley Medical Center, takes over. He comes to the Grizzlies with good credentials, Hinthorn said.

“Chris is an amazing golfer,” Hinthorn said. “He has a 0.7 handicap.

“He has already shown great commitment to building the program from the youth level. … It was real clear he was the guy for us.”

Notes: Both the football and boys golf hirings were pending approval by the McMinnville School Board, which was scheduled to meet Monday. … The boys soccer position is still open, but Hinthorn said he intends to close the search Feb. 15 and make a decision by early March.

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