Mace stepping down as La Grande football coach

Written by Paul Harder, The Observer October 30, 2013 10:15 am

La Grande will be looking for a new head football coach next season, with Kenny Mace stepping down Monday.
La Grande will be looking for a new head football coach next season, with Kenny Mace stepping down Monday.
 

The unfortunate cycle at La Grande High School will continue. After two seasons serving as the head coach of the Tigers football team, Kenny Mace will be moving to Salem.

La Grande will now be looking for its fourth head coach in five years. 

“It wasn’t a matter of wanting to be here,” Mace said. “I like the kids, and I like what we were building here. 

“My income barely meets my need for rent and other bills. It was an economic decision that I had to make.”

Mace’s girlfriend, Elizabeth Wong, found a job that will pay her almost double what she could make locally. 

“This is a woman I see myself being with for a very long time,” Mace said. “It made the decision much easier for me. Hopefully it will open doors on that side of the state. I want to keep coaching football and learning from other coaches. There are more opportunities over there.”

The White Salmon, Wash., native informed the team after the season finale against McLoughlin that he would not be returning next year. Mace made it official by turing in his letter of resignation Monday.

“Lost of tears,” senior Tyson Wicklander said. “I knew about it awhile back, but it was still hard to see how hard he’s worked and for him to leave. But, I’m happy for him. I hope everything works out the way he wants. He’s leaving on a good note and for the right reasons.”

Mace, who worked as an interim head coach last season, led La Grande to a 2-6 this season, and finished five spots out of the Class 4A playoffs. 

In the two seasons under Mace La Grande went 3-12, but he said there was more going on than what happened on the field.

“I wanted to leave the program better off than when I got here,” Kenny said. “By the win-lose column, we weren’t quite there. But, the team we had out this season had the most pride I’ve seen on the field in quite a while.

“They also improved in the classroom. We didn’t have a player miss a single game because I grades.”

Mace’s tenure with the team will end Thursday.

La Grande High School superintendent Larry Glaze said that Mace’s character will be missed.

“Kenny has a unique ability to relate to his student-athletes in a positive way,” Glaze said. “I have been impressed with his constantly optimistic attitude throughout this very challenging football season. His work ethic is second to none as a football coach and he clocks more hours than the average coach. He is a very dedicated guy. I am going to miss him as head coach and I believe this sentiment is shared among parents and players as well. I wish Kenny the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

Mace said that he will still keep on eye on the team, and make his way back to La Grande when he can. 

“There’s no way I could not follow the team from afar,” Mace said. “These boys are amazing. I hope that they can get a coach in there that will be around for a long time, and take them in the right direction.

“I’ve made some great memories and friends here. I’m leaving on good terms, and will look forward to coming back to visit.”

decision much easier for me. Hopefully it will open doors on that side of the state. I want to keep coaching football and learning from other coaches. There are more opportunities over there.”

The Salmon, Idaho, native informed the team after the season finale against McLoughlin that he would 

not be returning next year, and he made it official by turing in his letter of resignation Monday.

“Lost of tears,” senior Tyson Wicklander said. “I knew about it awhile back, but it was still hard to see how hard he’s worked and for him to leave. But, I’m happy for him. I hope everything works out the way he wants. He’s leaving on a good note and for the right reasons.”

Mace, who worked as an interim head coach last season, led La Grande to a 2-6 this season, and finished five spots out of the Class 4A playoffs.

“I wanted to leave the program better off than when I got here,” Kenny said. “By the win-lose column, we weren’t quite there. But, the team we had out this season had the most pride I’ve seen on the field in quite a while.

“They also improved in the classroom. We didn’t have a player miss a single game because I grades.”

Mace’s tenure with the team will end Thursday.

La Grande High School superintendent Larry Glaze said that Mace’s character will be missed.

“Kenny has a unique ability to relate to his student-athletes in a positive way,” Glaze said. “I have been impressed with his constantly optimistic attitude throughout this very challenging football season. His work ethic is second to none as a football coach and he clocks more hours than the average coach. He is a very dedicated guy. I am going to miss him as head coach and I believe this sentiment is shared among parents and players as well. I wish Kenny the best of luck in his future endeavors.”