Falcon coaches Davis, Hodson pick families over football

Andy Davis, seen here speaking with the Falcon girls basketball team, will no longer coach the football team. He stepped down in favor of only coaching basketball after 14 years of Falcon football.  - Ben Watanabe / Record file
Andy Davis, seen here speaking with the Falcon girls basketball team, will no longer coach the football team. He stepped down in favor of only coaching basketball after 14 years of Falcon football.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / Record file

Wanting to spend more time with their families, South Whidbey High School football co-head coaches Andy Davis and Mark Hodson have resigned.

They informed their assistant coaches last week over dinner, a meeting some thought was to discuss the spring training regimen and summer camp. Players, informed by Davis and Hodson at a team meeting during the high school’s lunch Thursday, were shocked by the news. As of this week, it was still settling among the returning players and outgoing seniors.

“Everyone was pretty surprised,” said Parker Collins, a junior who served as the backup quarterback and is poised to be the starter next season. “It was a random thing that caught me off guard.”

Both of Davis’ children are in high school. Beck, a senior, was an all-conference defensive lineman on the football team. Morgan, a sophomore, played volleyball and basketball — a team for which Davis is also the head coach of — and plays on the softball team.

After 24 years coaching high school sports, 14 of which were spent at South Whidbey, he wanted to focus on being a husband, father and single-sport coach.

“The commitment to coach back-to-back sports is a big commitment,” Davis said. “It’s time to scale back a little bit.”

“It’s hard to miss your kids growing up,” he said later.

Hodson has four children, two in the elementary grades and two in high school. Coaching football meant he sometimes missed his daughters’ volleyball matches, and Hodson said he was switching priorities.

“I’d love to watch my kids play volleyball and travel in spring, visit schools with Abby [his oldest daughter, a junior],” Hodson said. 

Spending more time with his family began Monday night for Hodson. He spoke by phone from Sea-Tac airport awaiting a plane to travel east to Tel Aviv, Israel, with his father and brother, both of whom have been assistants for the football team.

“I like the kids at South Whidbey, but I like mine more,” Hodson laughed.

The assistant coaches were said to be following their head coaches in also resigning. One assistant, Jim Thompson, said the staff’s decision to quit was not because of any confrontation with the school administration or district staff, but because they stuck around to work with one another. Both Davis and Hodson said their decision was not made for any reason other than to spend time with their families.

“I’m not angry and quitting,” Hodson said. “I had an awesome time here.”

“If I was really thinking of it only as a football coach, I’d stay another year,” Hodson added, citing the returning players’ skill and attitude as reasons he wanted to stay.

When asked to estimate how many hours per week during the football season each spent on football and related tasks, they laughed. Davis was also the team’s junior varsity head coach, so he pulled double duty not only under the Friday night lights, but again Monday, from September to November. Game days were at least five-hour commitments, each practice lasted about three hours, plus countless hours lost to studying opposing teams’ game film. All totaled, Davis and Hodson likened the coaching position to a second full-time job.

South Whidbey’s football program has a long history of longterm coaches. For three decades, Jim Leierer led the Falcons to the playoffs and a pair of state championship games. He was succeeded by Mick Heggennes for 19 years. Davis and Hodson took over and ran the program for the past 14 years, which Hodson joked would be considered a short time given South Whidbey’s coaching history.

“I’ve enjoyed every second of it,” Davis said.

South Whidbey’s coaches are required to submit a written resignation before it can be considered official by the South Whidbey School District, which signs coaches to contracts.

Once the resignations are turned in, the district will post the position internally. If no applications are submitted from district personnel, the position will become available for non-district staff.


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