John O'Rourke was 49 years old when he took over as the Columbia River football program, his first gig as a head coach.
Now, 19 seasons later, O'Rourke can call himself a hall of fame football coach.
Officially it will not happen until the induction ceremony in January, but O'Rourke got the call Wednesday night informing him that he will be in the state football coaches association hall of fame.
"You look at the list of people you've watched or coached against. I think it's really humbling to be included in that company," O'Rourke said. "I'm really appreciative that somebody would think that's what I've earned."
The Chieftains just completed another championship season, going 7-4, with a Class 3A Greater St. Helens League title and a berth to the state playoffs. That gave O'Rourke a record of 131-66. O'Rourke's teams have won seven league titles, have reached the state playoffs seven times, and have 15 winning seasons.
O'Rourke said the induction ceremony will take place in Everett on Jan. 26.