Bob Wollan, who coached football at W.F. West High School the past 12 seasons, resigned Monday according to the school’s athletic department.
Athletic director Jeff Johnson confirmed in a tweet just before 10:30 a.m. that Wollan had stepped down, and thanked him for his leadership. He also noted he hoped to see Wollan in an assistant role in the future.
“I think you evaluate every year,” Wollan said. “I would never make a decision in November or December. January, you just kind of feel it if it’s go time again. ... I wanted to be all in, like you have to be, and there was a little reservation. That’s a sign it’s time to pass it off to somebody else.”
Wollan, who graduated from Centralia in 1979, arrived in Chehalis in 2006, months after leading Pullman to a 2A state title win over Archbishop Murphy.
“There were maybe three, four programs out there that I would have even considered leaving for, and this is one of them,” Wollan told The Olympian at the time.
In his 12 years at W.F. West, Wollan led the Bearcats to the state playoffs 10 times, including a 2A state-semifinal appearance against Lynden in 2011 — the best finish in program history.
Prior to Wollan’s arrival, W.F. West had reached the state football playoffs just three times — most recently in 1989 — and lost in the first round in each appearance. Wollan took the Bearcats to at least the quarterfinals three times.
“It was exciting, because (W.F. West) hadn’t had a lot of success, but there was an opportunity to put your own stamp on it,” Wollan said. “I found that challenge to be very exciting. What was really rewarding was how excited the community got when the team started having success.
“They really bought into it. Home games at our place (became) a real community event. From the student body to the community, it was the place to be. It was really fun to see how that progressed.”
Wollan compiled a career record of 96-38 at W.F. West. In 2017, the Bearcats (8-3) finished second in the 2A Evergreen Conference in 2017 behind state runner-up Tumwater, and advanced to the first round of the state playoffs.
Wollan’s son, Nole, was named the 2A EvCo offensive MVP after compiling more than 1,700 yards of offense his senior season at quarterback.
“We were just tough and committed,” Bob Wollan said of his teams the past 12 seasons. “We hung in there and gave ourselves a chance. I think we had a lot of kids that gave us their maximum effort and collectively became good teams.”
Wollan’s head coaching career began at Rochester in 1996, where he spent seven seasons. He then coached in Pullman for three years before coming to Chehalis. He has a 181-61 record during his 22-year career.
“We never had a losing season in 22 years,” Wollan said. “We found ways to win games. It was fun. It was really fun.”
Wollan said he doesn’t expect to be completely done with coaching, but is more likely to take on a limited role in the future, instead of another head coaching position.
With more flexibility in his schedule, Wollan said he hopes to watch some of his former players — like J.C. Sherritt (Edmonton Eskimos) and Mitch and Tanner Gueller (Idaho State) — as they continue their post-high school careers.