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Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Nov. 29, 2023

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Updated: Woodward hired as Woodland head football coach

Former Mountain View, Hudson's Bay coach returns to region after nine seasons in California

By , Columbian High School Sports Reporter

Mike Woodward is returning to Southwest Washington to coach football.
“It took me nearly a decade to figure it out, but home is home,” Woodward said via telephone interview.
Woodward, who led Mountain View to the Class 4A state semifinals in 2001 and 2002, has been named the new head coach at Woodland High School.
“The biggest thing was family,” Woodward said. “We have a lot of friends and family we miss dearly. This year, I started feeling a strange pull to come back home. So here we are.”
Woodward was the head coach at Mountain View for five seasons. From there, he moved across town to run the Hudson’s Bay program for three years before heading to California. He has been the head coach at Westview in Poway, Calif., near San Diego, for nine seasons.
Woodward, who grew up in Battle Ground, said when he first considered a return to the Northwest, he knew he wanted an opportunity at a small school.
“I put Woodland on the top of that list,” Woodward said. “It felt right from the get-go.”
Woodland athletic director Paul Huddleston agreed.
“We feel like he’s the perfect fit for us as well,” Huddleston wrote in a release announcing Woodward’s hiring. “We are extremely fortunate to have a coach of his caliber searching for a one high school town where he can grow roots and become part of the community.”
Woodward has visited the new Woodland High School, with its new stadium, which opened in the fall.
“I absolutely loved it. Unbelievable. Gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous,” he said. “And the people have been incredible.”
Woodward will remain as a teacher at Westview through the end of the school year. His spring break differs from Woodland’s, so he said he plans on spending his break in Woodland to meet with players and parents.
“I wanted to be part of a small school that could really rally around a program,” Woodward said. “Everything just fell into place.”
Woodward was notified Tuesday, his 46th birthday.
Officially, the hiring has to be approved by the school board, Huddleston noted.
Woodward said he has no complaints about Westview — “They treated us great” — but it is time to come home. He hopes this will be his final move in his career.
“I’ll stay (at Woodland) as long as they want me there,” Woodward said. “I’ve been at big schools. I have no desire to move up. I want to settle in to a community and stay as long as they’ll keep me.”
Woodward was 29 when he became Mountain View’s head coach in 1999. He went 39-16 in five seasons with the Thunder, with the two trips to the state semifinals.
He brought to the Thunder an aerial attack that was uncommon at the time. Mountain View led the state in passing in 2001 and 2002.
“We’ve got an excellent quarterback at Woodland,” he said, referring to Wyatt Harsh. “I can assure you we’ll be winging it around quite a bit.”
He took over a Bay program coming off a one-win season and led the Eagles to two, three, and then four wins.
His “programs have competed and improved everywhere he has been, and I have no doubt that Mike will guide our already strong football tradition at WHS to even greater heights,” Huddleston said.
Woodward will take over for Mark Greenleaf, who resigned after his 13th season with the Beavers.

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