By Robert Husseman • Sports Editor • 

Linfield hires Dayton coach Unger

In two seasons atop the Dayton football program, Brodie Unger compiled a 23-1 record.

That one loss, it turns out, will be the last game in which Unger coaches the Pirates.

Unger resigned from Dayton on March 10 to accept a position on the Linfield coaching staff. The move represents a return to campus for Unger, a linebacker for the Wildcats from 1999 to 2003.

It is not immediately clear what responsibilities Unger would take on as a Linfield coach, or who if anybody he would replace. Unger and Linfield football coach Joseph Smith were unavailable for comment.

“It’s exciting for him to make that career change,” Pirates Athletic Director Todd Shirley said. “It’s hard for us because he’s a top-notch, quality guy.”

Shirley could not help but note that Dayton, the model of stability under Dewey Sullivan – who died in November 2006 after 42 seasons as head football coach – is on its fourth coach in eight seasons. One of those coaches, Gary Thorson, also spent two seasons atop the Pirates before leaving for Linfield, where he now serves as running backs coach.

“Dayton’s got a good reputation for its football program,” Shirley said. “We want to find the right person to continue the tradition. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel.”

Thorson hired Unger away from Dallas High School – Unger’s alma mater – to serve as his defensive coordinator in 2010. Thorson went 22-3 in his two seasons atop the Pirates, making the 2011 Class 3A state championship game but falling to Santiam Christian, before departing for Linfield. Unger was promoted in his stead.

The Pirates capped an undefeated season in 2012 with a state semifinal victory over Santiam Christian and a 34-28 state championship victory over Cascade Christian. In 2013, Dayton was on a 23-game winning streak before being thwarted by Nyssa, 19-15, in the Class 3A state semifinals in Bend.

A timetable for hiring a head coach will not immediately available. Dayton High School will not likely be able to attach a teaching position to the job, according to Shirley.

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