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Lebanon High introduces new football coach

Troy Walker introduction

Troy Walker, center, was introduced as the new head coach for the Lebanon High School football team on Thursday night. LHS Principal Craig Swanson, left, and Athletic Director Kraig Hoene introduced Walker, who is a 1988 graduate of the school.

Troy Walker was introduced as the new new varsity football coach at Lebanon High School on Thursday night.

Principal Craig Swanson and Athletic Director Kraig Hoene welcomed Walker in a brief ceremony in the auditorium attended by coaches, players and parents.

Walker is a 1988 Lebanon High graduate who has been serving as an assistant coach for football and track and field at North Salem High School.

"For me, this is a golden opportunity to come to my hometown, raise my family here," Walker said.

Walker is taking over the position which has been held since 2013 by Ty Tomlin. The son of longtime Lebanon football coach Don Tomlin, Ty Tomlin led Lebanon to the 5A state championship in 2016. The Warriors went 11-2 that season and defeated Wilsonville 34-17 to claim the title.

Before introducing Walker, Swanson expressed his appreciation for Tomlin's service at the school. 

"First of all, I would like to thank coach Ty Tomlin, who is not with us today, for his years of service to Lebanon High School. I've been able to work with Ty at Sprague High School and at Lebanon High School, I think the world of him and wish him the best," Swanson said. "Lebanon Warrior football has a strong, strong reputation and coach Tomlin delivered our only state championship during his tenure. He built champions on and off the field and while we wish him the best, we know he will be missed."

Hoene said he has known Walker since they were both members of the Lebanon High football program in high school. Hoene has long sought to bring Walker back to Lebanon High.

"One thing I know about Troy is that Troy gets kids, and kids get Troy," Hoene said. "He's an unbelievable person with character and integrity."

Walker emphasized his deep ties to Lebanon, which began when his family moved to Lacomb from Redmond. He remembered first meeting Lebanon standout Eric Castle on the school playground in Lacomb.

At that time, he could not have known what a key event this would prove to be in his life. Walker said practicing against Castle, a future star at the University of Oregon who would later go on to play in the National Football League, forced him to work harder and helped him become the best player he could be.

Walker then recalled what an honor it was to play for Don Tomlin.

"There's a certain amount of pride that goes into this program in this community. I grew up in this community and it's important for me to instill that same thing with you guys," Walker said.

Walker said he hopes the current coaching staff will stay in place. He expects to begin meeting with them next week to begin working on the summer football schedule. He told the audience that the tentative plan is for the squad to attend the camp at North Bend.

In an interview Sunday, Tomlin said he did not attend Thursday's event because he did not want it to be about him. This was Walker's opportunity to introduce his message to players, families and coaches, and Tomlin did not want to anything to distract from that.

Tomlin confirmed that the decision to step down from the Lebanon post as really difficult.

"It was really a faith-based decision. It was time to move on and I have nothing but great things to say about the people I worked with, the kids, the community members, the parents," Tomlin said. "Everything about Lebanon was a pretty great experience and I obviously wish the best for the new guy coming in and hope I left a positive mark. I hope I left it better than how I got it."

Tomlin has just begun the process of looking for his next post and nothing has been decided.

"That’s the weird part about it. I made the decision to step down before I had any idea what I was going to do or if anything was even out there. Now we’re just sort of casting out nets and seeing what lands," Tomlin said.

He thanked Swanson and Hoene for their support during his tenure, as well as the coaches who served on his staff. Tomlin also had a message all of the players who have passed through the program over the past eight years.

"I will miss them and I appreciate them for having faith in what we were trying to do," Tomlin said.

 

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