Coach Mike Phelps

After six years serving as an Assistant Coach with the Kalama High School Football program, Mike Phelps has been hired by Kalama School District as the team’s new Head Coach.

Phelps, who has 18 years of coaching experience, will lead the Chinooks as the team tries to defend its 2021 WIAA 2B state championship. Phelps is replacing Sean Mcdonald, the new Head Football Coach at Woodland High School.

“Without question, I have big shoes to fill,” said Phelps, a Kalama resident and retired sergeant with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. “I don’t know if I would call this coming season a rebuilding year, but a lot of our team leaders have graduated and our experience and depth is going to be tested. I have a lot of film to watch over the summer, breaking things down and getting ahead of the curve.”

Kalama High School Athletic Director Kevin Wright said out of all the applicants for the position, the returning players on the team were most excited about the prospect of Phelps stepping into the lead role.

“Having been with us for six years, Coach Phelps knows our players and our program quite well,” said Wright. “He believes in building a positive team culture; getting kids interested in Kalama Football at an early age, mentoring them and helping them grow to become good citizens.”

When asked about his coaching style, Phelps said he plans to continue to run the type of pro-style offense the team utilized last season, while looking for opportunities to be more aggressive on defense.

“Of course, you have to be flexible based on your personnel,” noted Phelps. “You can't force a system and not take your personnel into consideration, but we’ll definitely be turning on the energy.”

If there’s one thing he’s most excited about, Phelps said it’s coaching in front of the Kalama community at home games.

“This community is amazingly supportive of not just football, but all sports,” he said. “When we played for the state title in 2017, I looked up in the stands and I saw 2,000 people there. I was like, ‘Wow, there's only 2,500 people that live in Kalama.’ I'll never forget that. To see that kind of support from the community was really very touching for me as a coach. And I'll tell you what, I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to try to continue that level of success.”