Paul Valencia: Hallead part of change at Camas

Commentary: Paul Valencia

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 

Camas? Where's Camas?

Joe Hallead had no idea where Camas was, but he knew there was an opening for a physical education and health teacher.

While finishing his student teaching program in Yakima, he applied for the job. He got it. Camas gave him his first full-time teaching job, back in the 1999-2000 school year.

Now, just about everybody associated with Washington high school sports knows about Camas. It's that school that wins a lot of games, in a lot of sports, every season.

Joe Hallead has had a huge impact with two of the sports.

His first year in the school district, he coached seventh-grade football in the fall and then was the junior varsity baseball coach in the spring.

By his second year, he moved up to varsity assistant in football, then took over the baseball program as the head coach. He has kept those positions all this time.

Until the end of this school year.

His wife Missy, a former athletic director at Columbia River High School among many other titles through the years, is living in Nevada now, working in Las Vegas. Joe Hallead is leaving Camas to move south, too.

"She took a chance to move down to Camas with me," Joe said. "She left a good job. It's my turn to reciprocate. She's got a heck of a job down there."

That does not make leaving Camas any easier.

"It's been a lot of 'lasts' the last couple of weeks," Hallead said Tuesday afternoon, prior to the start of the Class 4A district baseball tournament. "I'm trying to push them out of my brain until it's over. I look at all the memories at Camas, all that we have done here."

Unfortunately for Hallead, it is over now. Skyview beat Camas in the district tournament's elimination game Tuesday night. After 14 seasons leading the program, Hallead's Camas coaching career has come to an end.

Hallead has seen a lot of victories. He also has been there long enough to remember that Camas had virtually no sporting identity.

In baseball, the program had a winning season in 2002, its first in 18 years. Then the program kept winning. In 2005, Camas reached the state playoffs for the first time. In 2010, the Papermakers beat rival Columbia River in the state semifinals, only to fall in the championship game. In 2011, another trip to the final four.

Hallead was also part of the turnaround in football, joining Bob Holman's staff in the fall of 2000. Holman, Hallead said, paved the way for his coaching career. Hallead also took a lot of notes.

"Bob had to change the mentality of Camas, and I got to be part of that," Hallead said.

Hallead was with Holman that first winning season, in 2000. The Papermakers, now led by coach Jon Eagle, have not had a losing season since then. Camas has reached at least the state's final four in each of the past three football seasons.

"It was a really neat experience to be part of the growth of the athletic program here," Hallead said.

Hallead said he took the teachings of Holman and used them with his baseball program.

While he is saying goodbye to Camas, he is looking for work in Nevada. He said there are more than 40 high schools in the area, and he hopes to find a new home. He has a really good plan in place, for wherever he lands.

"I've got all this knowledge from Bob Holman and Jon Eagle," he said. "I've got a big old tool belt from those guys."

So there is a school in Nevada that is about to get a coach and teacher who has learned from the best and has become one of the best.

Joe Hallead says he owes a lot to Camas.

"I'll never stop being a Papermaker," he said. "I'll always be a fan."

Paul Valencia covers high school sports for The Columbian. He can be reached at 360-735-4557 or e-mail at paul.valencia@columbian.com. Follow him on Twitter: @360paulv