WINSTON — Douglas High School had some head coaching positions to fill during the off-season.
Athletic Director Rob Holveck said the task was completed, as the Trojans selected four new coaches for the 2020-21 sports year.
Robin Knebel replaces Silia Polamalu as head football coach. Polamalu guided Douglas for five seasons, compiling a record of 11-32.
Knebel, a 2000 graduate of Roseburg High School, was an all-state tackle for the Indians and went on to play at the University of Oregon, earning three letters from 2002-04.
Knebel was one of two tackles named to The News-Review’s all-time RHS football team in 2001. He was an assistant coach for Douglas the last two years.
“I’m a little anxious to get started,” Knebel said of his first head coaching job. “We’ve got a bunch of good kids and a good community. We need to build some excitement (in football) and I think these kids have potential to win some games.”
Douglas went winless in nine games last year, going 0-5 in Class 3A Special District 2 South play.
“We have a strong senior class (returning),” Knebel said. “We have a lot of kids out there right now, (working out) four days a week.”
Knebel mentioned Seth Christian, Jesse Brecht, Tye Cross, Landen Lane, Leevi Brown, Gavin Hunter and Noah Knight as some of the top seniors. Senior Gavyn Jones, an all-league soccer player, heads the newcomers.
The varsity coaching staff will include Tyler Walker (offensive coordinator), Nick Garcia (defensive coordinator), Micah Audiss, Brad Lander, Kyle Meals and Jeff Jones.
The 2020 season is in jeopardy because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Trojans are scheduled to open on Sept. 4 with a nonleague game against Pleasant Hill.
Lesley Wilson was hired as head volleyball coach, replacing Alisha Jones.
The Trojans went 6-13 overall and 4-6 in the Far West League last year with a team that had no seniors. They have three returning seniors who received all-league recognition: Milaneta Snuka-Polamalu (first team), Makenna Anderson (second team) and Mackenzii Phillips (honorable mention).
Chris Van Allen takes over as head girls soccer coach, succeeding Chuck Lund.
Douglas advanced to the 3A/2A/1A state playoffs in 2019, finishing 8-5-2 overall and 6-2-2 in Special District 4. The Trojans have six returning all-league players in seniors Mya Skurk, Roxanna Powell and Elizabeth Avant, and juniors Adrianna Sapp (goalkeeper), Zoey Smalley and Hannah Hobson.
Casey O’Toole takes over the girls basketball program, replacing Darwin Terry.
O’Toole, who will be the Trojans’ third head coach in three years, is a 1995 Douglas graduate. The Trojans finished 8-16 overall and 3-7 in league last year.
“I’m excited to work with these girls,” said O’Toole, who was the head girls coach at then-2A Riddle for four years from 2009-12 (leading them to a pair of state tournaments) and served as an assistant under Dave Stricklin at Umpqua Community College. “They’re talented and athletic, and that’s all you can ask for. I think we have a good chance to be very competitive.”
O’Toole’s wife, Jennifer, will be one of his assistants. She graduated from Douglas in 2000 and was an all-league player for the Trojans.
O’Toole feels this coaching opportunity is ideal for the family. Their twin boys, Ryland and Colby, will be freshmen at Douglas this fall. Jennifer teaches at Winston Middle School.
The rest of the coaching staff will include Ron Warren, Dallas Rincon and Silia Polamalu.
The O’Tooles owned O’Toole’s Pub in downtown Roseburg for over five years before closing the business in August of 2018.
“I want this program to have some stability,” O’Toole said. “I expect this program to have some success, but you can’t do it overnight.”
The Trojans have some solid returning players, including junior Maleata Snuka-Polamalu, Milaneta Snuka-Polamalu, Sapp, Phillips, senior Jazmin Lund and sophomore Kierra Bennett.
Milaneta Snuka-Polamalu, Sapp and Bennett all received honorable mention all-league.