PENDLETON - Former Pendleton High School athletic standout Tony Hilde was named the Buckaroos' head football coach Thursday.

The school board approved a search committee's recommendation that Hilde be hired Thursday after conducting interviews earlier this week.

"He's going to bring us a lot of enthusiasm, a love for the game and a ton of energy," Pendleton athletic director Dave Williams said. "Tony is excited, and he's ready to get started."

Hilde, who was a three-year starter in football for the Bucks, graduated from PHS in 1993. He then became a four-year starter at quarterback (1993-96) at Boise State before becoming an assistant coach at Pendleton during the 1998-99 seasons.

He was then named Stanfield High School head football coach in 2001 before coming back to PHS as an assistant during the 2002-03 seasons.

"I'm extremely excited to get things going and start working with the kids," Hilde said. "My first focus is to make sure the kids hit school and their classes real hard, and then get a staff together."

As far as assistant coaches are concerned, Hilde said Kyle Rosselle, who's been a three-year assistant, will return to run the Bucks' defense.

"He's going to bring a lot of passion and a lot of energy to the table, said Rosselle, who played football at Oregon State before graduating in 2001. "It's going to be good for the kids."

Hilde replaces former Pendleton football coach Brice Gundlach, who went 14-15 over his three-year tenure.

The announcement appears to cement Hilde's commitment to the Pendleton community.

"We love living in Pendleton," he said. "My family and I thought long and hard about the options I had. I decided I was really going to take a shot at this thing.

"I threw all my cards on the table and decided to give (applying for the position) a chance."

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