Coaches hired for Bay baseball, Woodland boys basketball

Johnson, Buffum take over programs

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

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Seth Johnson helped Skyview to a state baseball championship, and now he wants to help Hudson's Bay baseball get back to being Hudson's Bay baseball.

"For as long as I can remember, Hudson's Bay has had one of the best programs in Southwest Washington," Johnson said. "It has one of the deepest traditions as a school and a program."

Johnson, 31, has been named the head coach of the Hudson's Bay baseball program. An assistant this spring with the Class 4A state champion Skyview Storm, Johnson previously was an assistant at Lower Columbia College in Longview for four years. He played high school ball at Kelso.

"I wanted to get after it and develop my own program," he said of the benefits of being in charge. "I really enjoy teaching fundamental baseball."

That is what Hudson's Bay athletic director Stoney Myers saw in Johnson during the interview process.

"He has a sense of caring for the kids, and an approach that all kids can be successful with the right training," Myers said. "He's committed to providing that training. He's a proven coach."

Johnson replaces Ben McGrew, who resigned after the regular season after six seasons with the Eagles. At the time, McGrew planned on staying at Bay as a teacher while pursuing his continued education. Since then, McGrew has accepted a teaching job at Union. He said goodbye to his Hudson's bay "family" via social media Monday evening.

"There are a lot of good kids there," he said of the Bay baseball players, noting the Eagles were just a couple percentage points off from becoming academic state champions this spring.

"That speaks to the quality of the kids there," he continued. "There are a lot of good kids with a passion for the game. It will be a good coaching job for Seth."

Johnson met with his players earlier this week. He encouraged them to play other sports at Bay and stay active throughout the year.

Woodland hires Buffum as boys basketball coach

Jason Buffum’s heart is with the small schools, so he is thrilled with starting his head coaching career at Woodland.

Buffum, 29, was hired by Woodland this week to take over the boys basketball program.

“I’d been waiting for something like this. I’m a small-school guy. I went to a B school. This was the right fit,” Buffum said.

After graduating from Class 1B Lopez on Lopez Island, Buffum played at Lower Columbia College. Later, he was an assistant there, as well as a student assistant at Central Washington.

He also has stops as an assistant at Heritage and, the last two years, at Kelso.

Buffum will take over for Aaron Shepherd, who accepted the head coaching job at Mountain View. Woodland reached the district tournament for the first time since 2005 this past winter.

“I just want to keep it going on the right track,” Buffum said. “Shepherd got the vibe going out there. I want to maintain it and keep building it. It is a place where success can happen.”