In any time of transition, leaders must step up.
The Ilwaco Fishermen are in the midst of a big transition, as new coach Sean Cease takes over for Kevin McNulty, who headed the program for the past 11 years.
And Cease has seen plenty of kids eager to give the program a direction.
“Ethan Personius, he was the first one that did it,” Cease said. “He asked to have the playbook, and I left it with him. He got together with a bunch of the guys and went over plays.”
The quarterback enters his second year as a starter, after guiding the Fishermen to a 5-5 record last season. While McNulty was beloved by players and parents, the current group is excited for a change of pace.
“They’re excited doing some different stuff,” Cease said. “There are some days I can tell they’re a little deer in the headlights, but they’re making an effort to ask questions.”
That includes the coaching staff, which brings back Larry Kemmer and Ray Baker. Also on the group is Craig Eyestone, Eric McMillan and Brett Hopkins.
“A lot of these guys I don’t know really well but they were eager to jump right in and start coaching,” Cease said. “The positivity I feel from kids I get from the coaches too. They’re all making an effort.”
Cease comes from Oregon schools, where he most recently served as the defensive coordinator at Gladstone High School. Before that he was head coach at Madras High School and an assistant at Jesuit.
He brings in a pistol-style offense and the defense will operate out of a 3-5 scheme.
“Our goal right now is to be 1 percent better than the day before,” Cease said. “We haven’t talked about wins.”
Ilwaco has about 30 kids out this season, and Cease credits seniors like Personius and Jeb Sheldon for helping make sure everyone turned out this season.
It’s those same seniors who have helped Cease maintain a sense of discipline at practice, the coach said.
“My philosophy is to help build people that can be positive leaders for the school and community,” Cease said. “Other coaches can out-do me at the Xs and Os all day, but I want my kids to feel like they have value in the program and community.”