Centralia High School football coach Matt Whitmire has resigned after four seasons leading the program, the school announced Wednesday.
“I always intended after about four to five years, to take a look at the state of the program, and it’s not to my standards,” Whitmire said. “We’re not where I think we should be.”
Whitmire, 48, took over in 2013, months after the Tigers finished a winless season. He compiled a 14-22 record in his four years.
He said his intent was to have the Tigers competing for one of the top three spots in the Class 2A Evergreen Conference on a year-to-year basis.
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“We may be on the verge of doing that, but right now I have too many questions,” Whitmire said.
Centralia (3-6, 1-4 2A EvCo) finished fifth in the conference this year, with its only league win coming over Rochester in Week 7.
The Tigers were shut out in 2A EvCo play by Tumwater and rival W.F. West.
“I thought we’d be further along than we were, and I’m accountable for that at the end of the day,” Whitmire said. “This is not what I envisioned when I took over four years ago.
“It’s something that needs a new voice.”
Whitmire said he took the month of December to evaluate the program, and he discussed the situation with Centralia athletic director Scott Chamberlain.
“We just sat down at the end of the season, and he needed some time to reflect, and when he came back, he came back with the decision to resign,” Chamberlain said.
Whitmire will continue to be a counselor at Centralia High, and said this will not be the end of his coaching career, which has spanned 26 years.
Whitmire graduated from Tenino in 1987, and played football at Iowa State University before beginning his coaching career as an assistant at Yelm in 1991.
He was an assistant at Charles Wright Academy before getting his first heading coaching job at Pe Ell in 1999. He moved on to be the head coach at White Salmon before joining Centralia as an assistant in 2012.
“I have no intent to make this a retirement,” Whitmire said. “It’s a break, and we’ll see where the road leads.”
Whitmire said he will take the next year off from coaching to recharge and reflect, and said losing his brother to cancer last year gave him a different perspective.
He said his brother’s death has helped him embrace some of the things he wants to do before returning to coaching, including taking his father to an LSU-Alabama football game in November.
Then, Whitmire said, he’s open to whatever comes his way.
“I’m at a point in my career where I want to contribute,” he said.
Chamberlain estimated that Centralia’s coaching position will be open in February, and does not have a set date for hiring.
“We’ll let the process take care of itself,” he said.
Chamberlain said there are no leading candidates at this point, but he expects the position, and Centralia’s facilities, to draw some internal interest and interest from coaches at some smaller schools in the area.
“You have to give some think time for the coaches, too,” Chamberlain said. “They need some process time, so we can make sure anyone out there interested, who is a good-fit candidate for us, has time to consider and make a good decision.”