After a four-year hiatus, Tony Umayam is back at the helm of Mountlake Terrace High School’s football program.
Umayam, a 1990 Mountlake Terrace graduate, coached the Hawks for 11 seasons before stepping down in March of 2015 to focus on his day job and spend more time with his family.
But after some time away from coaching, he got an itch to return.
“I started missing it,” Umayam said. “My kids are a bit older now to where they’re both in school and they’re both involved with different activities … so this past year I knew that I was going to return to coaching in some capacity.
“The timing with the Mountlake Terrace job opening up just happened to make it the easiest transition and the best opportunity.”
Umayam took over the Mountlake Terrace program this spring, replacing Kelly Dougan, who guided the Hawks to an 18-21 record over the past four seasons. Dougan’s head-coaching contract wasn’t renewed after last season, Mountlake Terrace athletic director Sharalee Burr said. High school coaching contracts are issued on a year-to-year basis.
During Umayam’s previous tenure as the Hawks’ head coach from 2004 through 2014, he led his alma mater’s long-struggling program to some of the best seasons in school history.
In 2009, Umayam guided the Hawks to their first-ever postseason appearance. In 2014, his final season before stepping down, he led Mountlake Terrace to a school-record eight wins and the program’s first and only state-playoff appearance.
Umayam inherits a team that’s coming off a 5-4 season under Dougan. The Hawks went 4-1 in league play last year and claimed a three-way share of the Northwest 2A Lake Division crown, which marked the program’s first division or league title since the school opened in 1960. Mountlake Terrace’s season ended with a 28-10 loss to Blaine in a first-round Class 2A Northwest/Sea-King Bi-District playoff game.
“The program itself is so much different than back in 2004 when my staff and I took over the first time, because (that) was a huge turnaround project,” Umayam said. “We’re not in that scenario now.
“They had a winning season last year, so you know that there’s some things in place to where now hopefully we can just kind of go in and make a few tweaks and tighten up some things to where we can continue where we left off. … Kelly Dougan did a nice job with the program.”
Umayam said most of his current coaching staff consists of assistants he brought back from his previous tenure at Mountlake Terrace.
“There’s a ton of familiarity on the staff,” he said. “It’s like we’ve been able to pick up like we’d never stopped. … I was real fortunate to have kind of a ready-made coaching staff to come on board right away.”
Umayam, whose Hawks are nearing the end of spring practice, said he’s excited about this group of players.
“We have a real good, coachable bunch of kids,” he said, “and some good football players along with that. … We’re excited.”