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Sept. 27, 2022

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Buffum set to coach Ridgefield basketball

He resigns from job at Woodland after taking Beavers to state tournament

By , Columbian High School Sports Reporter
Published:

Jason Buffum is leaving one Class 2A Greater St. Helens League boys basketball program for another.

Buffum, who has been the head coach at Woodland for the past three seasons, said goodbye to the Beavers when he resigned Wednesday. He is expected to be named the head coach at Ridgefield High School, where he is a teacher.

“I think professionally it makes the most sense,” Buffum said. “I’ve always wanted to build something under the same roof.”

Debbie Bentler, Ridgefield’s athletic director, stressed that the hire is not official just yet. Buffum has been recommended to the school board. The board meets next week.

Buffum, though, expects to be a Spudder coach, not just a Spudder teacher.

“Coaching doesn’t pay the bills. Teaching pays the bills,” Buffum said. “Coaching is a passion. Teaching is a passion, as well. But when you put them in the same place, it’s a little easier.”

Leaving Woodland is not easy, he said. Buffum led the Beavers to a 54-25 record in his three seasons, including a trip to the Class 2A state tournament in Yakima this winter.

“It had nothing to do with them,” Buffum said, referring to the Woodland athletes. “Woodland was good to me. I appreciate my time there.”

The feeling is mutual, according to Woodland’s athletic director.

“We hate to lose him. I appreciate everything he’s done for Woodland. But I understand,” Paul Huddleston said. “There are advantages to teaching where you coach. No hard feelings. … I wish him the best.”

Woodland was Buffum’s first head coaching job after 10 seasons as an assistant, including six at the college level.

Now he is looking forward to his next head coaching position.

“I hope to take what is already a good program and take it to the next step,” said Buffum, who will replace Nick Veyes, who resigned earlier this spring.

“Ridgefield is a blossoming community. There was a lot of success in sports this past year,” Buffum said, adding that he hopes that success is contagious in the years to come.

Columbian High School Sports Reporter

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