By Ray Hamill — It should be a smooth transition for Eureka football this fall, with long-time assistant Andrew Haraldson taking over as head coach from the departed Jason White.
Haraldson, a defensive coordinator who has been with the program for the past eight seasons, is not expecting to change up much, with the rest of the assistant coaches all returning as well.
“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel too much,” he said. “We like the Wing-T, we know that being physical and running the ball is key to our success. We want to play good defense.”
That, however, doesn’t mean there won’t be any changes, with assistant coach Mo Purify taking over as offensive coordinator and expected to add some wrinkles to what the Loggers are known to do.
And Haraldson is excited to see what he can bring to the mix.
“Mo brings a whole different level of knowledge,” the new head coach said.
Preparation for the 2020 season has been hampered slightly with the Corona Virus restrictions, but the Eureka coaches and the players have been working hard on an adjusted offseason program, with the players working out at home.
With schools closed, Haraldson has divided the roster into teams of five players who are working closely with each other and individual coaches, and in constant communication.
This summer the players will also attend two camps, as well as some individual seven-on-seven sessions with other H-DNL schools.
In addition to their annual trip to Sutter High for a team-bonding two-day camp, the Loggers will also participate at a two-day camp at McKinleyville High, presented by Sutter.
Overall, Haraldson describes the transition as being “really positive,” and is looking forward to the challenge ahead and to giving back to a program that helped steer him through some troubled times when he was playing for the Loggers before graduating in 2005.
“It’s pretty special to be able to give back at the school where people gave back to me,” he said.
The team culture and character development is a big part of what the Loggers have built and will remain an emphasis in what they do.
And White expects Haraldson to continue that.
“As a young coach he already has the correct philosophy as to how to run a program,” White said when the change was announced. “It’s not only about winning, it’s about teaching the right values, and he understands that and believes in that.”
The right guy
White says when he met with Eureka AD Kristie Christiansen to tell her of his decision to step down, he recommended Haraldson “without any hesitation.”
“I know he’s the right guy,” the former head coach said. “There’s no doubt in my mind.”
Haraldson says he’s excited about the opportunity.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “I’m excited. This program has always been focused on helping people outside of football, and to me that’s the most exciting part.”
Last season the Loggers suffered an inordinate number of injuries and failed to make the postseason, finishing up 3-7, including a winless conference campaign for the first time in a long time.
A roster full of younger talent, however, augurs well for the immediate future.