By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
Mike Don is headed back to the west side of the state.
Back to Lynnwood to be exact.
The former Lynnwood High School football head coach has officially been hired to replace Mark Stewart as the head coach at Meadowdale, the Royals’ crosstown rival, according to Meadowdale athletic director Chris Murphy.
“I’m excited to get back over and get to work,” said Don, who spent last season as the head coach at Brewster.
Don, 29, said his first official practice as Meadowdale’s head coach will be Tuesday.
The recent hire ends a month-long back-and-forth between Don and the school. Despite the fact Meadowdale had made its decision to hire Don in early May, nothing could be made official until Don was sure there was an open teaching position at the school. According to Don he is interviewing for an open Physical Education position next week.
Murphy said that Meadowdale assistant coaches will continue to run offseason training sessions until Don arrives.
Murphy said he expects the program to continue to be the Wesco powerhouse that Stewart built over 13 seasons.
“He brings an excitement and a passion to the position,” Murphy said of Don. “We feel he has the necessary organizational skills that are a good fit. We don’t feel there will be a drop off in the program.”
The program may not drop off but it will look decidedly different under Don. The former Prosser player runs a more wide-open offense than Stewart did.
“We’re not a traditional spread offense but we run a lot multiple-receiver sets and we’ll definitely spread it out,” Don said. “I think the kids are excited to do something different.”
Murphy said that Stewart, who is taking over the head coaching position at Garfield, was part of the process in coming up with a short list of candidates, which included Don.
After an injury cut short his playing days at Central Washington, Don moved to the coaching ranks as an assistant on the Wildcats’ staff. Three successive assistant coaching gigs at Ellensburg , Prosser and Woodinville high schools, led to his first head coaching job at Lynnwood in 2009. Don finished 4-15 at Lynnwood before leaving the Royals to take the head coaching position at Brewster, where Don led the Bears to a 2-7 record last season.
Stewart finished with a record of 87-49 at Meadowdale and led the Mavericks to the playoff nine of the seasons and guided seven teams to the state playoffs. This year’s loss in the quad-district playoffs was the first time he didn’t get Meadowdale to the state playoffs since 2006.