After nine-plus seasons on the sidelines with the Lebanon Warriors boys soccer team, Dave Albion is stepping down as head coach and making way for a new face.
Former George Fox women's soccer coach Andy Hetherington will be taking the reins this fall.
“It’s time for me to step back and see if the program can take another step forward,” Albion said. “Sometimes a change in the face is huge.”
Albion has been at Lebanon High School for 30 years. According to LHS athletic director Kraig Hoene, Albion was an assistant basketball coach while Hoene was a student at the school.
“Dave had been doing it for a while," said Hoene. "He’s got a life transition where he’s retiring. He has some life stuff that’s all positive. He came to me and told me he would be willing to step down and take a break if we found a good fit.”
“I just want to thank all my players, assistant coaches, administration for everything they’ve done,” Albion said.
Albion took over as head boys soccer coach part of the way through the 2006 season, leading the Warriors to the state tournament for the first time in program history.
The biggest thing that Albion never got to do however, was beat the Woodburn Bulldogs.
“I told the kids that was on my bucket list and someday I would get them,” Albion said. “We played them tough three or four times. They’re a real tough program.”
While Albion was a fierce competitor on the sidelines, he is more proud of the lessons he taught his team than his record. Most importantly, he taught his players what it means to be a part of a team.
“At the end of the day, I had a great run with great kids," he said. "Some years were obviously more successful than others.”
One of the hallmarks of Albion’s Lebanon teams was how hard the teams played. According to Crescent Valley coach Casey Fries, he knew his team had to be ready to go when they took the field against Lebanon.
“One thing I noticed about his kids was they were always ready to play and they were hungry to play,” Fries said. “Every game I watched Lebanon play, there were competitive from the first whistle to the last.”
Fries said he will miss seeing Albion on the sidelines with Lebanon, but is happy to have Albion’s friendship after years of competing against one another.
Taking over for Albion will be Hetherington, who spent six years playing semipro soccer in England and France before becoming a high school and college coach.
As an assistant, Hetherington helped lead Catlin Gabel to two state titles and a 39-0 record during his tenure.
From Catlin Gabel, he went on to coach at Corbett, taking that squad to the state playoffs three times. His last high school position was at Valley Catholic in Beaverton, making the state tournament three times.
“I’m hoping to develop the program, that’s what I’m looking to do,” Hetherington said. "That’s going to take more than one season to do that, so we’re hoping for significant improvement this year and hopefully we can build on that.”
After his time coaching in high school, Hetherington spent 11 years at George Fox University, where he led the women’s soccer team to a 62-115-16 (.366) record.
With his wealth of experience, Hoene felt grateful that Hetherington showed interest and accepted the job.
“I’m feeling very blessed. (Hetherington) was moving back to Oregon from California, "Hoene said. "He started looking around for jobs and called me out of the blue.”
While Hetherington has not seen the Warriors play, he has some preliminary ideas of what he wants to do. As an offensively-minded coach, he wants his teams to attack as much as possible, he said.
Hetherington knows he’s stepping into something of a project. The Warriors finished this past season 3-11 overall and 2-5 in the tough Mid-Willamette Conference.
“I want to be positive," he said. "I know it’s a tough league that we play in and I know last year, in terms of our win-loss ratio, it was a difficult season.”
Hetherington arrived in the area last Thursday and will address his new team for the first time this week when practice begins.