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Mountain View hires Woodland’s Sean McDonald as new football coach

McDonald led Beavers to 2A GSHL title last fall, won 3 state titles at 2B Kalama

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: April 10, 2024, 12:35pm

Sean McDonald says he loves everything about Mountain View High School.

“I love the tradition, the athletes, the school, the facilities,” McDonald said. “I love the color scheme, the logo. I love everything about it.”

Nex fall, McDonald will get to don the blue and green of the Mountain View Thunder after he was hired as the Thunder’s next varsity football coach on Wednesday.

Cale Piland, Evergreen Public Schools’ athletic director, announced the hiring Wednesday afternoon.

In McDonald, Mountain View is getting a coach who led Woodland to its first league title in 16 seasons last fall and who led Kalama to three 2B state championships.

McDonald spent the past two seasons at 2A Woodland, elevating a Beavers program to consecutive playoff appearances after inheriting a 2-7 team. The Beavers went 4-6 in 2022 and had a four-win improvement last fall, going 8-3 overall, which included the program’s first league title since 2007 and a Class 2A state playoff appearance.

Prior to Woodland, McDonald made a name for himself in Class 2B football. In seven seasons coaching at Kalama, his high school alma mater, he went 66-14 with state championships in 2017, 2018 and 2021.

But the allure to coach at a big school in a bigger city was too much for McDonald to pass up.

“It’s always been a goal of mine to get a coach a team from a bigger school,” McDonald said. “Having a program with 70 kids in it on a down year is a huge benefit to me. I’ve always wanted to run a program that’s like a college-level program with the next-man-up mentality. And I think I can really do that at a school with his high of an enrollment.”

But there will be some initial challenges for McDonald at Mountain View. He will be Thunder’s third head coach in three seasons.

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Adam Mathieson resigned as head coach about a year ago after leading the Thunder for 15 seasons when his position as athletic director was eliminated in budget cuts.

Aaron Hart took over the program this past fall. Despite lower-than-normal turnout numbers, Hart led the Thunder to a 9-2 record, a 3A Greater St. Helens League title and a berth to the 3A state playoffs.

But then Hart stepped down as coach on March 1.

“I’m up to the challenge,” McDonald said. “Building that coaching staff will be first and foremost, and then making sure kids aren’t going other places because they’re unhappy.”

McDonald said he has been working on putting together a coaching staff for the past couple of weeks, as the hiring process was being finalized. And he has begun to reach out to players and share his vision for the program.

“I’m going to recruit the hallways every day,” he said. “I’m going to try to get some of those good basketball players out on the football field. I’m going to try to get as many kids out as I can and just recruit the hallways as much as possible.”

McDonald said leaving Woodland after two seasons was a difficult decision. But the job at Mountain View also included a teaching position and a pay raise.

“It was just the best move for me and my family,” he said. “There is never a great time to move on. I think I learned that at Kalama. I saw an opportunity, and I don’t see the jobs at other 4A and 3A schools in the area coming open anytime soon. …

“It’s a tough time to leave Woodland. We had a good class of kids coming back and I’m proud of those kids for everything that they’ve done. But this was just a great opportunity to be part of a great community.”

McDonald becomes the sixth new head coaching hire for football in the region, following Adam Mathieson at Camas, Steve Pyne at Union, Junior Miller at Prairie, Mike Peck at Mark Morris and Will Ephraim at Fort Vancouver.

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