Chris Paulson is leaving Mount Rainier High School to become new head football coach at Kentlake.
Paulson, who returned the Mount Rainier program to respectability in his two seasons, said taking the Kentlake position and accompanying teaching job offers him more stability as he is on a “non-continuing” teaching contract at Mount Rainier. Plus, he and his wife live in Kent.
“I wasn’t really looking to leave Mount Rainier, but when the Kentlake opportunity opened up, it’s something I had to jump at,” Paulson said. “It’s my neighborhood and a great football community. It has all the pieceds to be something really special.
He said he feels bad about leaving the Mount Rainier program, but added, “I know it’s in a lot better situation than it was two years ago.”
The Rams were coming off back-to-back 1-9 campaigns before Paulson, a former assistant at Auburn Riverside, took over. They finished 4-6 in 2008, losing in the Class 3A preliminary playoffs, and 4-5 last season.
“Chris put in endless hours to redirect our football program and put Mt. Rainier in a position to be successful in both Seamount and SPSL,” Mount Rainier athletic director Darren Rawie said in an e-mail statement. “His character and charisma will be missed.”
Kentlade AD Bruce Rick said hiring committee was impressed with Paulson’s energy level.
“His vision of what it takes to be a successful program was very evident during the interview process,” he said. “His core values as a coach aligned with what we were looking for in a coach. He is passionate about the game and well organized. He pays attention to detail and will not de-value the integrity of the program by wavering on expectations.
“Chris expects accountability from his players on and off the field. As Chris stated, he is running a program, not just a football team. he understands the imprtance of developing the overall student-athlete into a quality person, not just an athlete.”
Paulson succeeds Mike Shepard, who was asked to step down after compiling a 14-26 record in four seasons. The Falcons were 4-6 in each of the past two years and last reached the playoffs in 2003.