By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
More than 25 years ago, Kennedy High School in Mt. Angel was looking for a volleyball coach.
Scott Coburn, who was coaching the boys basketball team at the time, said if the school could get him in contact with Chemeketa volleyball coach Terry McLaughlin, he would give it a try.
More than 400 wins later, the rest is history.
“I learned a lot from Terry,” Coburn said. “He helped me the first few years and came out and did some clinics with my kids and I learned more and more.”
In 1991, Coburn’s volleyball team made it to the state championship game, falling to Vale.
“We weren’t even rated going into the state tournament and we upset several teams along the way,” Coburn said. “To get to the finals was an amazing accomplishment. That’s one of the game I’ll always remember.”
After four seasons at Kennedy, Coburn began coaching at Whiteaker Middle School in 1993 and he’s been there ever since.
“My kids were at the age where I was always gone coaching and I was missing some of their lives,” Coburn said. “They were young kids and my wife and I made the decision if I move to middle school, I can be more a part of what they’re doing and then I just decided I enjoyed the middle school level. The kids can learn and grow so much that it’s fun to watch them. You can take them and really develop some skills that I can pass on to the high school.”
Coburn won his 400th game on Monday, Oct. 24, defeating Walker 3-2 at home.
“When I retire sometime, it’s nice to know what I did,” Coburn said.
“It feels good for me but it’s really fun that I’ve had the opportunity over the past 20-something years to do this and work with such great kids. I see it as an accomplishment for them also. There’s kids all over town, that aren’t kids any more, that are a part of it. To me it’s a bigger thing than just me winning games.”
Coburn said kids always ask if they are his favorites but it’s difficult to top the two teams his daughters, Sarah and Katie, played on in the late 90s.
“They were both on very good teams,” Coburn said. “They didn’t lose any games while they were here and having all those kids at my house as friends made them special teams to be around.”
Coburn’s team went undefeated in league play this season, which has become a common occurrence at Whiteaker.
Coburn, who turns 60 this month, doesn’t know how much longer he’ll coach.
“I take every year one at a time,” he said. “I know I have a few more years of teaching and as long as I’m teaching, I’ll be coaching. It’s been a good ride though. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I feel very fortunate to be in the city I’m in because I get great kids and great families to work with. The city of Keizer is something special.”
“Even though we’re in a big school district, we’re our own little town and we kind of like it that way.”