Signs were more than telling in Nick Mullen finding a new residence in high
For starters, the main road leading to Timberline High School is none other
than Mullen Road.
Mullen played for the Puget Sound Loggers. He’s coaching the Timberline
Blazers (incidentally, there is a minor tree removal project going on in
front of the school this week).
Hired for his first head-coaching job in Lacey was an easy transition. His
wife, Julie, works for the city. They live minutes away from the school. His
9-month-old son, Sullivan, attends day care a couple blocks away from the
“I’ve been No. 2 for a few jobs,” said Mullen, 31, who was hired late in the
spring when Kevin Young departed. “I fell into the perfect spot. Most
first-year coaches have to go to a program to rebuild. I went to a program
with a great team.”
Mullen also has the blessing from the program‚s most visible product — running back Jonathan Stewart, now the starter at the University of Oregon.
“I only met him once,” Mullen said. “He came down to the weight room and
asked if he could lift. I said, ‘Yeah.’, He introduced himself, and was real
Mullen, a Bethel High product, had been a seven-year assistant, six coming
at Bethel, Mount Tahoma and the last three as Franklin Pierce’s defensive
He has surrounded himself with people he trusts. Former UPS assistant Ken
Garland is the linebackers’ coach. Jake Dorn is the offensive coordinator, in charge of implementing the team’s new “Pistol” shotgun, quick-strike
Mullen has retained three holdovers, too ˆ John Jordan (running backs‚
coach), the former Timberline coach in the early 1980s; Terry Shaw
(defensive line coach) and Vernell Willingham (receivers coach).
Any new coach would want to put his stamp on a program, especially his first
For starters, Mullen did away with the gold helmets. The Blazers will wear
The team is in the midst of fundraising for a new helmet logo.
“I don‚t sleep,” Mullen said. “I‚m always trying to do something, stay
Sure, the players were worried when Young suddenly called it quits last
spring. Even as the reigning Western Cascades Conference champions, they
thought a late start learning a new system would set them back.
“I was worried we might get the wrong guy,” junior safety Ronnie Hamlin
said. “I saw Mullen, and I knew he was a good coach. He’s looking for
effort, and people who want to lead.”
“Mullen has a rare commodity — an experienced returning quarterback. Mike
Jones was an Western Cascade Conference honorable mention selection last season, and has shed 20 pounds in preparation of running an option-style offense.
“Mike’s the man,” Mullen said. “Football is competition, and you have to
keep it up. He’ll be fine. He’s committed to me, our staff and the players
on the team.”
— Todd Milles