RAYMOND — Rob Clements, who guided Raymond High School to a pair of Pacific League championships and a state semifinal berth, has resigned as the Seagulls’ football coach.
Clements wrote in a letter to Raymond administrators and school board members that he intends to pursue a career in college coaching. He teaches elementary school at Raymond.
“I have always dreamed of being a college coach, going back to the days that my own Raymond High School teammates jokingly called me ‘Coach,’” Clements wrote. “Now is the right time for me to do the same things I have asked of our students, to set a goal and reach for it.”
While the Raymond High alum said he has not yet received a job offer, he has applied for positions on college staffs and to graduate schools.
“I felt that it would be wrong to continue my tenure as coach if there is a possibility of me leaving, considering that my search may drag on until late June,” he wrote. “I feel now is the best time to resign because the school, new staff and, most of all, the students themselves deserve the opportunity and time necessary to move forward as a program.”
The 31-year-old Clements has previous college coaching experience, having spent four years as an assistant at the University of Puget Sound and one spring at Western Oregon prior to returning to his alma mater.
“Rob has demonstrated a high character leadership model for our kids and has given them the lifelong tools to be successful in their future lives,” Raymond athletic director Jason Koski said in a prepared statement. “We appreciate his tenure at Raymond and wish him nothing but the utmost success as he ventures down the road he has chosen to follow.”
Koski said the position has been opened within the district and hopes to fill the vacancy as soon as possible.
A standout lineman at Raymond prior to his 2001 graduation, Clements was an all-conference offensive lineman at Puget Sound.
He returned to Raymond in 2010 and spent one year as a football assistant prior to succeeding Jess Cavandar as head coach in 2011.
Inheriting a team that had gone 3-7 the previous year, Clements directed the Gulls to winning seasons in all three of his seasons at the helm.
His teams won Pacific League championships in 2012 and 2013 and advanced to the state 2B semifinals last fall. He was selected for the Daily World’s Coach of the Year award for all sports in 2013. His career coaching record at Raymond was 22-9.
In his resignation letter, Clements expressed appreciation to the Raymond administration, school board, staff and community. He reserved his greatest thanks, however, to his players.
“You will be missed most of all,” he concluded. “Remember, it was you who changed the culture of your team. It was you who lifted the weights, ran extra, pushed yourself every day and ultimately won those games. I would not be where I am without any of you. It is in each and every student to continue the course you are on. Remember to enjoy the process and do your best and you will find the results you seek.”