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Three new GSL football coaches preside over first practices

Thu., Aug. 21, 2014, midnight

The summer changed for Terry Cloer.

That’s what happens when one becomes a high school head football coach, as Cloer did last spring when he was hired to replace Mike McLaughlin, the man who built the program at Mt. Spokane after a stint at Mead.

“No longer can I sit around the pool with my kids with my feet up,” said Cloer, an assistant at Mt. Spokane the past seven years. “It’s definitely a little different. A lot more responsibility. There are a lot of organizational things I didn’t have to attend to before.”

There Cloer was Wednesday, presiding over his first practice as the top dog. He is one of three new faces in the Greater Spokane League. The other newbies are Ben Cochran at Rogers and Jim Mace at Shadle Park.

Cloer had his players out earlier than any others across the league. They reported at 8 a.m. to do conditioning tests, including 40-yard dashes. Alas, sprints in football are still measured in yards, not meters.

About 90 minutes later, the Wildcats were on the practice field, and they concluded their first time with just the school’s second head coach at noon.

Cloer didn’t waste time earlier in the summer putting his mark on the program. He took his players to a different camp, eschewing the team camp at Whitworth where McLaughlin had been taking his teams.

So the Wildcats headed to a five-day camp at Wenatchee High School.

“We wanted to get the kids away and stay together as a team,” Cloer said. “At Whitworth, we didn’t have that. Most of the kids commuted. And we wanted a higher competition level.”

The camp at Wenatchee was something he attended as the defensive coordinator at Cascade of Everett.

“The kids stayed in the gym and we had a couple of scrimmages a day,” Cloer said.

Several returning players stood out and there were others who stepped up.

“It’s something we’ll look at again next year,” Cloer said.

• At Rogers, Cochran replaces Pirates alum Matt Miethe, who resigned to coach the offensive line at Whitworth.

It’s not Cochran’s first taste of being a head coach. He served as interim coach at 3A Lincoln of Tacoma in 2008.

Cochran instituted an 85-percent attendance rule to all summer weightlifting and conditioning sessions.

“The kids have risen to the challenge,” Cochran said. “We had 48 kids a day for two hours a day five days a week in July.”

Those who didn’t maintain 85-percent attendance won’t be left behind. They will be required to make up for lost time after two-a-day practices conclude, Cochran said.

Fridays in July were reserved for mostly team-building activities.

“We called them ‘Fun Fridays,’ ” Cochran said. “We went bowling and had a scavenger hunt.”

Thanks to boosters, the Pirates will have another entertaining event Friday. A theater has been reserved, free to the Pirates, to watch the debut of “When the Game Stands Tall” about legendary De La Salle High football coach Bob Ladouceur, who built a program from the ground up into a machine that won 151 straight games.

Cochran wrote a grant through Muscle Milk last year, and was given $16,000 to use for new uniforms. He purchased 50 home and away jerseys.

“They look like (University of Washington) jerseys,” he said. “We got them this week.”

• At Shadle Park, Mace begins his first head coaching position, taking over for Alan Stanfield, who resigned to become offensive coordinator at Whitworth.

Mace, an assistant previously at Rogers, spent his first year at Shadle last fall coaching the defensive line.

“It’s the first time in my life that I’ve been mandated to do football every day,” Mace said of the transition from assistant to overseeing a program. “It’s a balancing act being productive and not overwhelming yourself.”

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