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June 20, 2021

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Mike Smith back as Prairie’s girls basketball coach

Also, Mike Thyron retires after long career as Prairie's soccer coach

By , Columbian staff writer
2 Photos
Mike Smith was girls basketball coach at Prairie High School for just one season.
Mike Smith was girls basketball coach at Prairie High School for just one season. Photo Gallery

Mike Smith is back as Prairie’s girls basketball coach. 

Smith, who led the Falcons to a 21-4 record in 2012-13 after replacing longtime head coach Al Aldridge, is the program’s new head coach. Athletic director Jason Castro announced the news Thursday.

The coach replaces Hala Corral, who stepped down in the spring after four seasons as head coach. Prairie won the Class 3A state title in 2019, and extended its league-title streak to 23 this past season.

Castro also announced Thursday the resignation of longtime boys and girls soccer coach Michael Thyron. Thyron, who teaches German at Prairie, coached soccer at Prairie for more than 20 years. His wife, Christy Thyron, who served as an assistant on the girls team for more the 20 years, also is leaving the program.

Castro said Prairie will have “tremendous shoes to fill” in replacing the Thyrons.

“The impact he and his wife have had on Prairie Soccer and the athletic department as a whole is off the charts,” Castro tweeted. “We wish them the best in retirement.” 

Also Thursday, La Center hired Brittney Stryker as its new girls basketball coach, athletic director Matt Cooke announced. Stryker is a 2006 La Center alum who played under longtime coach Herm VanWeerdhuizen at La Center, and four years at NCAA Division II Northwest Nazarene. 

La Center is Stryker’s first head-coaching job. She served as VanWeerdhuizen’s junior varsity coach the Wildcats’ league-title winning season in 2019-20. VanWeerdhuizen retired from La Center in May. 

“She built great relationships with the girls,” Cooke said of Stryker. “I think she’s going to be a positive influence on the girls and build the program up from where Herm left it.”

Shelby Jones also is La Center’s new head softball coach, Cooke said. Jones served as interim coach in the spring.

At Heritage, Josh Mayer was hired earlier this summer to replace Bryan Housley as boys and girls soccer coach. Housley led Heritage’s soccer programs since 2012 before moving to Central Oregon to pursue a new business venture.

Mayer was previously as the boys soccer coach at Woodland, having been hired for that position earlier this year only to see the spring season wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayer, a graduate of Battle Ground High School, had spent the previous decade coaching and directing Kaiju Sports Club in Chengdu, China.