Terry Dion, Aberdeen High School’s head football coach for the past two seasons, has resigned due to health reasons.
The 56-year-old Dion recently underwent hip replacement surgery and is also dealing with chronic knee pain and arthritis.
“I can’t function at a high level,” Dion said today from his home in Shelton, where he is recuperating from surgery. “There’s just chronic pain and fatigue that really are distracting to me. I don’t feel like I have the energy and attitude that I want to have. I don’t feel like I’m at 100 percent to serve the program…The reality is I can’t tie my shoes or get in and out of a car.”
Dion said he hopes to return to teaching contemporary problems, psychology and sociology at Aberdeen if the physical problems can be resolved.
“I’m very happy teaching at Aberdeen,” he said.
He isn’t even ruling out a return to coaching, but isn’t exceptionally optimistic that will happen.
“I love coaching. I’m calling this a resignation, but there’s a very reasonable chance this resignation is retirement,” he said.
“We’re sorry to see him go, but we understand about his health,” Aberdeen athletic director Ken Ashlock said. “He helped our program. He put it in a better place.”
Ashlock said he would discuss the vacancy with Principal Rocky Rocquin and district Superintendent Dr. Tom Opstad. He said it was likely that the position will be advertised both inside and outside the school district.
A standout defensive end at Shelton High School and the University of Oregon who spent one season with the Seattle Seahawks in 1980, Dion spent a couple of years as a Bobcat assistant before succeeding Ron Clark as head coach in 2012.
His two-year record was 7-12, but the Bobcats finished strongly last season to earn their first district playoff berth since 2007.
Although a knee injury ended his stint with the Seahawks, Dion doesn’t attribute his current physical issues exclusively to his football career. He said his family has a history of arthritis.
He tore a bicep while demonstrating techniques on a blocking sled during the 2012 season and tweaked a knee later in the season.
“This year, I noticed it when I went to camp,” Dion related. “I could hardly walk from the field to the parking lot.”
During the season, the pain intensified to the point where he was unable to ride the team bus to and from road games. He credited assistant coaches Cory Martinsen and Scott Rice with increasing their responsibilities to take over part of his duties.
“They had tremendous years,” he said. “They provided a lot of help.”
“It was a real emotional season,” Dion confirmed. “I expect my players to do things at a high level and expect that out of myself as well. I just wasn’t the cheerful, optimistic person that I wanted to be and I attribute that to a lot of the physical and emotional pain I was going through.”
He thanked the Aberdeen faculty, staff and administration for their support.