High School Football

Kennewick Lions new football coach is no stranger to the region

Ellensburg head coach Randy Affholter watches his team play Prosser from the sidelines on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, in Ellensburg, Wash. (Evan Abell, Yakima Herald-Republic)
Ellensburg head coach Randy Affholter watches his team play Prosser from the sidelines on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, in Ellensburg, Wash. (Evan Abell, Yakima Herald-Republic) Yakima Herald-Repubic

Kennewick High School, pending school board approval, will hire Randy Affholter as its new head football coach.

Affholter has spent 22 years as head coach at Ellensburg High School.

Anna Harris, Kennewick High athletic director, said that she and the selection committee had approval from the superintendent to offer Affholter the position.

It would have been voted on by school board members had the recent board meeting not been canceled by the snow.

Harris likes the committee’s choice.

“We are very happy with him,” said Harris, who was the athletic director at Prosser, facing Affholter and Ellensburg, before taking the Kennewick position a few years back.

“I’ve known Randy for a number of years. He is a consummate professional. He’s a leader of coaches and kids. He’s a solid guy. He has a reputation as a solid guy not just around the Yakima Valley but around the state too. He’s very organized,” she said.

In Affholter’s time at Ellensburg, his football teams have won seven conference titles, earned 11 state playoff berths, played in four state quarterfinal games, and in four state semifinals.

Closer to family

Affholter said he and his wife, Tara, we’re looking online at possible football coaching jobs in Arizona over the Thanksgiving holiday when he stumbled on the Kennewick High opening.

Long-time Lions head coach Bill Templeton had just decided earlier in the month to step down.

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Affholter was intrigued with the opening.

“There were a couple of things,” said Affholter. “One, there is always something in the back of your mind, in head coaching, wondering if I go to a bigger school, to see what happened. Two, as a coach and educator, I felt I was getting stagnant and was thinking about doing something different.”

“Three, my wife’s parents live in Eastern Oregon. My family is from the Yakima Valley. This would put us closer and in the middle of family,” he said.

And they’ve thought the Tri-Cities — with its airport — would be a great place to retire.

Making the Tri-Cities move

Affholter’s contract as a health and fitness teacher at Ellensburg doesn’t finish until the end of this school year. But he expects to be coming to the Tri-Cities a lot between now and then.

“This spring there will be a lot of commuting,” he said.

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Kennewick High School’s annex. Tri-City Herald file

Harris said that all assistant coaching positions will be opened up and posted, as soon as the school district can get back to work and there are no snow closures.

Affholter said he hopes his Ellensburg defensive coordinator, Steve Reeves, can make the move to Kennewick too. And he likes what he sees with what the Lions have coming back next fall.

“I’ve been able to watch film,” Affholter said. “There is some very good talent there. Plus they just passed the bond for a new school.”

There are a lot of good things that drew Affholter to the Kennewick job.

But the chance to coach in a Class 3A-4A conference was also a draw.

“This (the Mid-Columbia Conference) is a good football league,” he said.

Jeff Morrow is the former sports editor for the Tri-City Herald.