Mark Stewart has left the Meadowdale football program after 13 seasons to become the head coach at Garfield.
It’s a move that caught many in the Seattle football community by surprise, but a connection between Stewart and Garfield does exist. Stewart was a teacher at Garfield for five years in the ’90s and served as the head football coach for two years in 1992 and 1993.
“It’s probably a place, at one point, I thought about going back to,” Stewart said on Monday.
“But if you asked me, I thought it was maybe going to be when I retired.”
Instead, Stewart leaves a Meadowdale program that went 7-3 last season and lost in the round-of-32 in a close game against state runner-up Eastside Catholic.
Stewart’s career record is 136-79 (.633) in 21 seasons, including an 87-49 mark at Meadowdale. He arrived at the school in 2000, just a year after the Mavericks went 0-9.
“It was a similar challenge I’m taking on here,” Stewart said. “It’s been nice to be a part of the building process.”
Stewart takes over a Garfield program that went 1-8 last season under David Myers and just 7-39 (.152) the last five seasons. Stewart told his Meadowdale players of his decision on Monday and said he got a little “choked up” in the meeting because he had watched many of his players since they were younger.
“It’s not a place I was looking to leave, but sometimes you kind of go, Boy, that will be a pretty good challenge,” Stewart said. “I’m 53 now and just young enough to see if I can get the program turned around and pointed in the right direction. One more time. Here we go.
“To be a part of that building process is always kind of cool. You’re going to try and go some place and make it better so when you leave it’s much better than when you came.”
In addition to coaching football, Stewart said he will also share some responsibilities in the athletic department.
Stewart was a first-team All-American linebacker at Washington and played in the Rose Bowl. He was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 1983.