Wednesday, July 13, 2016
PERRYDALE — When Perrydale athletics director Dan Dugan began his search for a new head football coach, he turned to Central athletics director Shane Hedrick for any suggestions.
“Shane told me you just need one: Duane Riddell,” Dugan said.
Riddell was hired in late June to take over from Chris Gubrud, who stepped down as coach earlier this year in order to watch his son play football at Eastern Washington and his daughter play volleyball at Linn Benton.
Riddell didn’t think for long before jumping at the chance to coach the Pirates’ football program.
“I’m a 67-year-old man who has coached all of his life,” Riddell said. “I got a call regarding the opening and I thought heck yeah, that’d be fun. I’m really interested and Perrydale has a great reputation academically and athletically.”
Riddell’s coaching career began in 1972 and has included stops at Central — where he led the Panthers to the 1983 state championship — McKay, Gervais and McNary.
“Duane is one of the better football coaches to have ever gone through Central without a doubt,” Hedrick said. “He has an extensive background in coaching. More importantly, he’s a people person. There’s a balance to coaching, especially at the high school level, between the X’s and O’s and loving and caring for the kids. Duane has what I would call the ingredients to have a solid program.”
Riddell, a member of Central’s athletic hall of fame, has a long and storied career already, but he’s about to add a new chapter. Perrydale will mark his first foray into eight-man football.
“Luckily, they have some great coaches there who have helped me a great deal,” Riddell said. “Dan (Dugan) has also coached as well. We had a scrimmage against Falls City and I learned a great deal.”
The Pirates finished 10-1 in 2015 and advanced to the OSAA Class 1A state semifinals. Riddell is eager to continue the Pirates’ tradition of winning.
“Those kids at Perrydale are really good kids,” Riddell said. “I’ve been really impressed. I had a chance to be around the student body. I think the team will be very aggressive. I’m really excited about learning, adjusting and progressing.”
Perrydale’s hiring of Riddell turned out to be in the nick of time. Not long after accepting Perrydale’s position, Riddell’s son, Josh, became head coach at McKay High School. Getting to coach alongside your son would be a tempting proposition for anyone, but Riddell stayed firm.
“I can tell you right now that 99 percent of people would have said I’m resigning to go follow my son,” Hedrick said. “Duane didn’t do that. You don’t get to coach with your son very often. Duane committed to Perrydale and made that promise to those kids and he’s upholding it. That speaks to what kind of character he brings.”
Riddell’s coaching career has spanned decades, but he’s just as excited as the day he first stepped onto the field as a coach. He hopes to bring a wealth of knowledge to Perrydale in its quest for a state title.
“I’ve always loved football,” Riddell said. “I love being around it. I love watching it. I loved playing it. I admire the players a great deal.”