Doug Baxter

Doug Baxter

The Timberwolves’ men’s basketball team has recruited a new pack leader.

Doug Baxter has stepped in to replace Osa Esene as Blue Mountain Community College’s head coach. Baxter has been an assistant coach since 2013, and has served as interim since the head coaching position was left vacant in July 2018.

Prior to his time at BMCC, Baxter was Pilot Rock’s head varsity basketball coach for six years and held a 103-49 record, with three back-to-back 20-win seasons. His team took a trip to districts for all six of his years, including three championship and four state tournament appearances. Baxter also coached the Rockets’ varsity girls for five years, which saw three district tournament runs and one trip to state. He also led the boys’ and girls’ varsity teams at Ukiah for three years.

“(Coach Baxter) has a relentless work ethic, passion for the game, and a vision to build a program of high character and high-competing student-athletes,” said BMCC Director of Athletics, Outreach and Student Life Dawn DiFuria McClendon in a press release. “We look forward to Coach Baxter leading our men’s basketball team to high levels of success on and off the court.”

Baxter’s 2018 Timberwolves team consists entirely of Pacific Northwest athletes, which he played a major hand in recruiting. The team includes freshman wing and captain Dylan Grogan of Stanfield, who spent last season playing Yakima Valley College baseball. Sophomore guard Mehki Foreman (Pendleton) and freshman wing Bryson Pierce (Pilot Rock) are also on the roster. Sophomore guard Jeremiah Hillard of Spokane Valley is this year’s sole returning player.

“Playing in the toughest region of the Northwest Athletic Conference is going to challenge our guys,” Baxter said. “Players are working hard to make the switch from the high school level to our level. We have asked them to be invested in the program, the classroom, and the community, and so far, they have been.”

The Timberwolves are 0-3 to start their season. Their next home game will tip off at 4 p.m. on Jan. 5 against Columbia Basin.

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