Busy time for new Granite Falls football coach

This is Tracey Bechtholdt’s first summer as a head football coach, and he’s a bit exhausted.

“I’m tired now,” Bechtholdt said Tuesday in a phone interview, “because we’re at camp. But our kids are excited (and) the coaching staff’s excited. We’ll do some good things this year.”

After serving as the Granite Falls High School football team’s’ defensive coordinator the past four years, Bechtholdt became the Tigers’ head coach in January. He took over for Eric Dinwiddie, who resigned after five seasons.

Granite Falls took big strides under Dinwiddie, experiencing a drastic increase in participation and qualifying for the playoffs in 2006, 2007 and 2008, winning at least five games each of those seasons.

Now, it’s Bechtholdt’s turn. Before coaching at Granite Falls, he was a prep football assistant at Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds. This week he has been in Ellensburg with Granite Falls players at the Central Washington University camp, which ends today.

“We’ve been going at it really hard,” said Bechtholdt. “Our kids are dedicated to the weight room and it’s starting to pay off. We’re ready to rock and roll.”

Asked about Granite Falls’ key athletes for the upcoming season, the coach quickly rattled off several names: fullback/linebacker Zach Jones, lineman Jacob Brown, quarterback J.J. Campbell, running back Dylan Wold and center Jackson Hjelle. Bechtholdt also is excited about the return of running back/defensive back Coty Walker, who is healthy after missing most of his junior season with a knee injury.

Football practice for the 2009 season begins Aug. 19. By then, Bechtholdt expects to have a good handle on his head coaching responsibilities, which are significantly different than what he did before.

“Just the overall responsibility that goes along with it (has increased),” he said. “As a position coach or a coordinator, you can just do your X’s and O’s and concentrate on that. Being the head guy, you have to have all your paperwork in order.”

Dinwiddie helping Vikings

Dinwiddie, the former Granite Falls football coach, said he resigned to spend more time with his wife and his two young children, boys who are age 1 and 3. He has been working as an assistant with the Lake Stevens High football team, mainly helping with the defense. The time commitment isn’t as major, Dinwiddie said: “It’s still a lot of time, but it’s less time.” He plans to continue teaching at Granite Falls High.

Goddard Stadium will be ready

The condemned home bleachers at Goddard Stadium in south Everett — home field for many teams including the Kamiak and Mariner football squads — will be renovated in time for the first game of the fall football season, according to Bob Miulli, director of facilities and construction for the Mukilteo School District. Repairs will begin in about a week on the wood bleachers, Miulli said on Tuesday. The bleachers were condemned in May. Workers will replace the wood with aluminum, a project that will cost about $330,000, Miulli said. The bleachers were in use for about 40 years. “We’ve definitely gotten our money’s worth on it,” said Miulli.

Mike Cane: mcane@heraldnet.com. Check out the prep sports blog Double Team at www.heraldnet.com/doubleteam.

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