Finally settled in, and ready for the season to get underway, Centralia’s new football coach is ready to hit the ground running after moving across the country with a championship resume.
Though Dustin McGee found a house quickly and moved to the Hub City in June, preseason prep began the day he took the job in February, while he was still living in Tennessee.
“We did our due diligence back in the spring when we were in Tennessee,” McGee said. “We watched all the film that we could, but you never know what a team’s got until you see them in person. So it’ll be exciting for us to see that and get to know all the teams in our league. Everything I’ve heard about this league is that it's really competitive. We’re looking forward to it.”
From there, McGee began a “hectic” process of finding a house and a home for his family while making the massive move. He made sure to take a trip to the Cascades and see some of the sights during his brief breaks from work and football, but has otherwise been hard at work devising how best to rebuild the Tigers into a contender.
“When you move across the country you want to do well and impress people, that’s what we’re trying to do,” he said. “We’re trying to do things right and change the culture and build something special here.”
Part of the adjustment for the former coach of an 8-man football state champion in Tennessee, is adjusting to the WIAA’s rules, like a much-shorter camp than he ever previously experienced. At his past stops, McGee said he’d have at least four weeks to work with his team before the season started, but in Washington, it's two after a two-week “dead-period” at the beginning of August.
Along with learning the various offenses and defenses across the 2A Evergreen Conference, McGee has worked to learn about his players and where they’ll fit into his new schemes. A quick training camp back in July helped with that immensely, per McGee.
Though the Tigers have struggled of late, going 12-25 over their last five seasons and winning one game last year, McGee is looking to create a strong culture in his first season.
The first step, of many, is getting that very first practice out of the way, and the Tigers did just that Wednesday afternoon in Centralia.
“It feels great,” McGee said of opening camp. “I love football so much, it's so awesome every year to get to this point and get geared up for the season. There’s nothing like it in the world. Happy to see all the guys out here and we’ll continue to get better and see how we do.”