Michael Bumpus, who guided the Monroe High School football program to some of its best seasons in school history, is stepping down as the Bearcats’ head coach after five years at the helm.
Bumpus announced his decision Monday afternoon on Twitter.
“It was a great five years,” Bumpus told The Herald. “… I just love the kids, and it’s been a blast. Just grateful to be able to coach these young men.
“It’s gonna be weird not being a part of that,” he added, “but I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish and think that the program is headed in the right direction.”
Bumpus, a former Washington State University standout receiver who briefly played for the Seattle Seahawks in 2008, took over as Monroe’s head coach in 2015. Upon his arrival, the Bearcats were coming off just their second winning season in 16 years.
Bumpus elevated the program to new heights and helped break a 25-year state-playoff drought, guiding Monroe to back-to-back Class 4A state-playoff berths and the program’s first-ever state quarterfinal appearance.
Bumpus compiled a 36-17 record during his five-year tenure, including a 27-8 mark in Wesco 4A play. He led the Bearcats to four Wesco 4A runner-up finishes and Week 10 playoff appearances in each of his five seasons.
Monroe went 6-4 this past fall, including 6-1 in Wesco 4A. The Bearcats fell 34-20 to eventual state semifinalist Mount Si in the Week 10 winner-to-state round.
“His commitment to our student-athletes and greater football community has been something that we are extremely grateful for,” Monroe athletic director Jeannette Siemers said. “Obviously the growing success of our team over the past few years under his tenure have been noticeable (and) exciting.”
During his second season at the helm in 2016, Bumpus guided Monroe to a 9-2 record and the program’s first state-playoff appearance since 1991.
Bumpus then led Monroe to a historic 10-2 campaign in 2017, when the Bearcats advanced to the state quarterfinals for the first time ever with a 21-14 opening-round win over Puyallup. It was the first-ever state-playoff victory for Monroe, which had lost each of its previous six state-playoff games.
“It was gratifying,” Bumpus said of those landmark seasons. “I just had a great group of talented young men. I mean, especially in public school, you’ve gotta get lucky sometimes just with who’s in your area and who’s showing up to practice.
“And (I) just had a great staff to really kind of hone in on our strengths. If it wasn’t for my staff, we wouldn’t even have a chance to do half the things that we’ve done.”
Bumpus has juggled a particularly busy schedule in recent years, including careers in athletic training and broadcasting.
Bumpus and his wife, Jennifer, own an athletic and fitness training facility in Monroe called Elite Training Academy, which they founded together in 2012.
In addition, Bumpus is a regular contributor to the 710 ESPN Seattle radio station and is an analyst on the Seahawks pregame and postgame shows. He also is an analyst for telecasts on ROOT Sports, where he calls Big Sky Conference college football and high school football games.
Bumpus and his wife also have three children.
“I’m getting opportunities to do other things when it comes to football, so I want to take advantage of that,” Bumpus said. “Also, my kids are getting older and I want to be around as much as I can to see their games and whatnot.
“And there are decisions being made above me that I couldn’t control, so it just all happened at the right time. And I felt like if I’m gonna leave now, I feel like the program is in a good position to where the next guy can come in and make it his own, but still ride the wave and kind of keep things going.”
Siemers said Monroe will post the job opening and begin its search for a new head coach in early January after winter break.
“One of the big things that will be missed is his expertise and knowledge and experience,” Siemers said. “He came with obviously a lot of experience that I think made it really exciting for our student-athletes to learn from and develop their game from him.
“He’s paved the way for the future success of our football program.”