ATHENA — Six years ago, Kenzie Hansell stepped down as head coach of the Weston-McEwen football team to spend more time with his young family.
Now, his family is encouraging him to return to the sidelines.
“I’m back,” Hansell said with enthusiasm. “When the job came open, my wife (Emily) told me I needed to go for it. She said I enjoyed it and I needed to do it. I talked to our three kids about it, and my brothers (Luke and TJ, they farm together). We are going to make this work.”
Hansell, 38, replaces Travis Glover, who posted an 8-15 mark over the past three seasons.
“I am thrilled to be back,” Hansell said. “It’s an honor to be the head football coach at Weston-McEwen. Being a coach in Athena is special on Friday nights — that’s what you do, you go watch the TigerScots. We are fortunate to be able to give back to our community.”
Hansell had coached the TigerScots for six seasons before stepping down after the 2013 season when he and his wife were expecting their third daughter, Cora.
With his family, school and football philosophy, he had to practice what he preached.
“It was my turn to step up and help out at home,” he said.
As he returns to the TigerScots, his family is part of the team.
His daughter Charlotte, 10, is the ball girl, while Eloise, 7, is in charge of the kicking tee, and Cora, 5, is there to cheer everyone on.
To top it off, his younger brother Luke, who played at Washington State, is the defensive coordinator.
“I want them to be involved,” Hansell said. “It’s about family. The opportunity to have brothers coach together is special.”
The first time Hansell took the reins of W-M was 2008. The team was coming off a dismal 1-8 season. He led the team to the playoffs four of the six years he coached, including the 2A state semifinals in 2011. His record was 37-23.
A 1999 Hermiston graduate, Hansell walked on at Washington State, and played four years at wide receiver for the Cougars. He played in the 2001 Sun Bowl, the 2003 New Year’s Day Rose Bowl vs. Oklahoma, and the 2003 Holiday Bowl.
During his time at WSU, he played for Mike Price and Bill Doba. One of Doba’s mantras has stuck with him through the years — ‘Do what is asked of you, when you are asked to do it.’
He preaches that to his players, whether they are on the field, in the classroom or at home.
“We have a great group of student-athletes,” Hansell said.
In addition to his brother on his staff, Hansell has Casey Perkins, Dallas Reich, Elliot Salter, James Wilbourn and Morgan Dunlap.
“Our coaching staff is amazing,” he said. “The head coach is only as good as his assistants.”
The TigerScots open their season Sept. 6 at Central Linn.