Rochester, Centralia hire new football coaches

Rochester and Centralia high schools have announced football coaching hires.

River Ridge defensive coordinator Tom Griggs will take over at Rochester, and Steve Amrine, a four-year assistant coach at Idaho State, has been hired at Centralia.

For Griggs, 28, this is his first head coaching job after spending the past four years as an assistant coach with the Hawks, including the past three as defensive coordinator.

Griggs began his coaching career at Pullman under then-head coach Bob Wollan (now at Chehalis) following his college football career at Washington State. Griggs was part of the staff that led the Greyhounds to the 2005 Class 2A state title. He was an assistant at Mountain View in Vancouver before moving to River Ridge four years ago.

Griggs, a history teacher at River Ridge, graduated from Montesano High School in 2001. He was a walk-on offensive guard at WSU.

He takes over a Warriors program that struggled through a 1-8 season in 2010 and last made the 1A District IV playoffs in 2008.

“The community is really behind me and the kids are behind me,” Griggs said. “They’re sharing my excitement. I’m really pumped up about it.”

One thing Griggs plans to instill in his players quickly is making the weight room a focal point.

“I’m looking for those guys to understand that football is a priority now, and taking ownership and bring them along with me,” Griggs said.

Amrine (pronounced am-RHYNE) takes over a Tigers program that finished 7-3 in 2010. He will be a physical education teacher at Centralia. He spent the past four seasons with Idaho State, an NCAA Football Championship subdivision school (formerly I-AA) in Pocatello, Idaho, as a defensive backs coach, recruiting coordinator and academics coordinator.

He was previously an assistant at Central Washington, Eastern Washington and Feather River College in Quincy, Calif., where he helped start the program.

A native of Castle Rock, Amrine, 39, served one-year stints as an assistant at Castle Rock (receivers coach, 1991) and White Salmon (offensive coordinator, 1996) high schools. He played one season of football at Eastern Oregon University.

“This is a good, good job for us,” said Amrine, who plans to move wife Jaime and children Tucker, 5, and Maali, 19 months, from Pocatello to Centralia this week. “All of our family is back there (in Castle Rock). Centralia is a good community, good educational community and good athletic community.”

Amrine said he plans to implement a pro-style offense at Centralia, a program that ran the Wing-T under longtime coach John Schultz, who retired from coaching in April after 22 years.


Michael Harn has been hired as North Thurston girls basketball coach. … Seven South Sound senior baseball players were chosen for the Washington all-state baseball games this weekend (June 10-11) at County Stadium in Yakima. Timberline’s Ben Smith (Centralia College commit) and Colin McCusker (Pacific University), Chehalis’ Erik Forgione (UW, Angels’ 33rd-round draft pick), Rochester’s Chris Bishop (PLU) and Tumwater’s Jace Feldmeier (Olympic) will play for Team Baker. Olympia’s Cole Loncar (Saint Martin’s) and Brad Williams (Pacific) will play for Team St. Helens.

Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473