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Will Ephraim resigns as Prairie High School’s head football coach

Ephraim went 8-10 in two seasons with the Falcons

By Will Denner, Columbian staff writer
Published: January 19, 2024, 12:48pm

Prairie High School is in search of a new head football coach to lead the Falcons’ program after Will Ephraim submitted his resignation in December.

Prairie athletic director Stephanie Watts confirmed Ephraim’s departure  following his two seasons as head coach, saying he resigned for “personal reasons.”

However, Ephraim told The Columbian on Friday he resigned only because Watts asked him to at the end of the season, “based on some concerns she shared with me,” he said. Ephraim acknowledged he was surprised by the request.

“While I did not believe these concerns warranted a request for a resignation, I wanted to honor her request as the athletic director at Prairie,” Ephraim said in a text message.

In two seasons with the Falcons, Ephraim had a combined 8-10 record, including a 6-3 mark in 2022, the program’s fifth winning season since 2000.

Prairie finished tied for second in the 3A Greater St. Helens League in both seasons, but twice came out on the losing end of a three-team tiebreaker determining which team advanced to the Week 10 state preliminary round.

Despite the abrupt end to his tenure, Ephraim spoke highly of his time with the Falcons, saying “the Prairie community welcomed me with open arms.”

The stint was Ephraim’s first head coaching job since leading Class 1A Seton Catholic from 2015-18. More recently, he was an assistant coach at 3A Heritage.

Ephraim, who played defensive back at Oregon State from 1991-94, hasn’t made a decision on his next step as a coach.

“Know that I will miss working with the great students and families in the Prairie community,” he said. “I am an avid believer that doors open and close for a purpose and reason.  I am not sure what the future holds for me at this time, but I am hopeful for what lies ahead and I am eager to continue to develop athletes in our community.”

Ephraim is one of four head coaches in Southwest Washington who resigned following the end of the 2023 football season. Jack Hathaway (Camas), Kevin Coad (Union) and Shawn Perkins (Mark Morris) also departed.

Watts said the school is currently in the process of interviewing candidates for the position, which could come with a caveat depending on the outcome of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s reclassification for the 2024-28 cycle.

Prairie is among the state’s largest 3A schools and faces the prospect of being moved up to 4A. If that happens, the Falcons would join a highly competitive group of football teams in the 4A GSHL with Camas, Skyview, Union and Battle Ground, Prairie’s in-district rival.

The WIAA Executive Board is set to approve classification numbers on Sunday, Jan. 21.