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New Decatur football coach a familiar name: Leon Hatch

Post by Eric Williams on May 22, 2007 at 7:15 pm with No Comments »
May 22, 2007 7:15 pm


After a three-month sabbatical from coaching, former Mount Tahoma football coach Leon Hatch jumped back into the meat grinder, this time at Decatur High.

Hatch was offered and accepted the head coaching position at the Federal Way high school left vacant when longtime football coach Bill Heglar left to take the head football job at Mercer Island.

Hatch resigned from the head job at Mount Tahoma in February, stating a need to spend more time with his family.

"Right before spring break I got some things cleared up to where I could at least think and function," Hatch said. "So I decided to climb back on the horse again. I just needed to get some perspective on some things at home."

Hatch said after spending some time away from the rigors of managing a football team he felt a pull to return to the profession he loves.

By that time,, however, Hatch said Mount Tahoma already had started to process of looking for a new football coach, and his former job was not available.

Hatch said he was up front with his former players at Mount Tahoma and told them he wished to return to coaching.

"It was hard for them and for me not to be able to coach them," Hatch said. "But once I was at the point where I wanted to coach again, they were the first people that I talked to. I didn’t want them to get the perception that I wanted to go somewhere else.

"It was never a fact that I wanted to go elsewhere. I wanted to stay at Mount Tahoma and retire there. But sometimes things happen and you have to restructure your plans, and that was the case with me."

In five seasons at Mount Tahoma, Hatch compiled a 16-32 record, and took the Thunderbirds to the playoffs last year for the first time since 1985.

Hatch takes over a young Decatur squad that finished 2-8 last year in the tough SPSL North. Hatch coached as an assistant at Federal Way High before taking the Mount Tahoma job, and was a finalist for the Decatur football job when Rik Haines was hired.

"I will just take the same approach when I first arrived at Mount Tahoma," Hatch said. "We have to get our kids that should be playing, playing – sort of recruiting from within and making sure that academically kids are on track."

Hatch said the last month has provided a dose of humility. He applied for the Kent-Meridian High football job but Mike Roberts, a teacher at the Kent high school, was hired instead.

"It was a humbling situation," Hatch said. "It helps me to realize when we are in a situation, whether it’s home, family or work, just to not take situations for granted. Sometimes we get involved in the daily grind and we lose focus on the things that are most important to us."

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