David Krueger Herald Writer
Longtime University of Washington assistant coach Chris Tormey has been hired as the new head football coach at South Whidbey.
Tormey began his coaching career — which spans 33 collegiate seasons including nine as a head coach — as a graduate assistant at Washington in 1980. After coaching the defensive line at the University of Idaho for two seasons, his alma mater, he returned to Washington for 11 years where he coached tight ends, outside linebackers and the secondary under legendary Huskies coach Don James.
“I am excited about it. My wife moved to Whidbey Island last September and when that job opened it seemed like a great fit,” Tormey said. “I was open to whatever the next opportunity was. It is going to be an adjustment moving from college to high school”
Tormey is excited to take over at South Whidbey, a place he believes has everything needed to succeed on the gridiron.
“It’s a great group of kids, a great community and a tremendously supportive administration,” Tormey said. “Should be the ingredients for a successful program.”
During his tenure at UW, the Huskies appeared in 10 bowl games and won the 1991 National Championship.
In 1995, Tormey returned to Idaho for his first head-coaching job. He led the Vandals to four winning seasons in five years as Idaho moved from Division I-AA to the I-A level. Tormey was named the Big West Conference Coach of the Year in 1998.
Tormey served as the head coach at the University of Nevada for four seasons before returning to Washington in 2004 to serve as the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator. He also had coaching stops at the University of Hawaii, Washington State University the and University of Wyoming, where he most recently served as the defensive coordinator for the Cowboys this past season.
Tormey is one of the first out-of-district football hires in decades. Previously, the head coaching job was split between Andy Davis and Mark Hodson, both teachers at South Whidbey High School, who decided to step down to spend more time with their families after a dozen of years calling plays. Legendary South Whidbey coach Jim Leierer still visits the team during its early fall practices and continues his tradition of taking a picture of each player so he can pray for them.
A native of Omaha, Neb., Tormey grew up in Spokane and graduated from Gonzaga Prep. He went on to play linebacker at Idaho in the mid 1970s, earning All-Big Sky honors in 1976 and 1977. After completing his career with the Vandals he signed as a free agent with the National Football League’s Washington Redskins.
Tormey takes over a Falcons squad that finished 5-5 last season and made it to the first-round of the district tournament.
Ben Watanabe, of the South Whidbey Record, contributed to this report.