MOUNT VERNON — Ron Rood has been on the sidelines as head coach of the Concrete football team for the past 31 seasons.
There will be no 32nd year as Rood has announced his resignation effective immediately.
He leaves a football program he joined in 1985. That was the same year his team won a Class 2B state title.
“It’s bittersweet,” Rood said of his decision to move on. “Sometimes change is a good thing. And sometimes it is necessary.
“It was a difficult decision. Being a football coach is my identity and has been for 40 or so years. It wasn’t an easy thing to do. But it’s a decision I had to make and it’s one I really thought a lot about. The relationships I have with kids, parents, other coaches and people I have been involved with have been really helpful and supportive. Concrete has been a great place to be.”
Rood amassed a record of 205-110 at Concrete.
The 65-year-old Rood, who was inducted into the Washington State Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 2009, emphasized he was resigning —not retiring — from coaching.
“I still want to coach,” Rood said. “I still have that desire to coach and I enjoy it. Every aspect. The spring ball, the summer ball, and being out there on Friday nights.”
Rood arrived at Concrete High School after spending 10 years as a coach at Fife High School, where he was defensive coordinator of the football team and coached the school’s baseball team.
He attended Central Washington University where he was an honorable mention NAIA All-American guard in 1972. He remained at Central as a graduate assistant before taking the job at Fife.
“I really had no idea what I was getting myself into coming to Concrete,” Rood said. “My friends who I had gone to college with who had attended Burlington and Mount Vernon and had grown up out this way talked about Concrete as if there were stills on every corner.”
For Rood, coaching has always been about being a part of a team, where goals and experiences are shared.
That mentality extended beyond the gridiron and onto the school’s baseball and softball diamonds as well.
Rood coached Concrete’s baseball team for three years, finishing second at the Class 2B state tournament in 1988, and even coached the school’s softball team in the mid 1990s.
“There’s no punching the clock for me,” he said of coaching. “This is a job I wanted to do and a job I want to continue to do.”
And he’s not wasting time getting his name out there as a coaching candidate. He said he’s known plenty of other coaches who have retired, then a year or so later they are right back on the field.
“I will be applying,” he said. “I really like the small-town atmosphere. I like the feeling of family, I like getting to really know the kids. I like being part of a community. We’ve had that here at Concrete.”
So much so that Rood has coached the sons of former players.
“It’s nice to be part of something like that,” he said. “It’s nice to be part of a small community.”
While he retired from teaching history, physical education and English at Concrete High School in 2013, he remained the Lions’ coach. He also continued as a substitute teacher and a guest speaker in history classes.
“We have a lot of good kids here and this will be a good job for someone,” Rood said. “This decision has nothing to do with them. And the community has always been very supportive. It’s been a great run. Now it’s time for a change.”
While Rood has that state football championship to his credit, he is just as proud of the sportsmanship awards his teams have won over the decades.
“The football program represented the school and the school district very well,” he said. “We went out and competed every time. It has been an awful lot of fun.
“I never had an idea I’d stay this long. I hardly knew where Concrete even was. I now know I will never forget my time here.”