Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
Three Ashland High head coaches have resigned and another is taking a season off, AHS athletic director Karl Kemper announced Monday.
Boys basketball coach Larry Kellems, girls basketball coach Emily Hesse and cross country coach Leland Fulton will not be returning for the 2013-14 school year, and boys soccer coach Brad Roupp is taking a one-year hiatus to travel with his daughter and watch his son play soccer. Longtime assistant coach Abdiaziz Guled will lead the Grizzlies until Roupp returns.
Kellems took over for Royce Miller in 2007-08 and guided the Grizzlies to the Class 5A state playoffs his first three seasons, each time falling one win shy of the eight-team state tournament. The Grizzlies claimed Southern Sky Conference championships in '08 and '10 but have struggled since, going 21-28 the next two seasons before stumbling through a dismal 1-20 campaign in 2012-13.
Kellems, who coached at Ashland High for 14 years total, finished with a 71-79 record overall, including 29-15 in league games.
"We certainly had some exciting runs during the Kellems era," Kemper said. "Larry is a gentleman in every way, who cares about his players and always treats them well. He has always represented our school in a positive manner and has invested countless hours of his life into helping student-athletes grow as people and players at AHS."
Hesse replaced Tom McCracken in 2010-11 and led the Grizzlies to back-to-back Southern Oregon Hybrid 5A league championships in '11 and '12. Ashland was 30-41 under Hesse, a former Crater High and Southern Oregon University standout. The Grizzlies also qualified for 5A play-in games in each of Hesse's three seasons at the helm, losing each time.
"Emily brought a refreshing energy and enthusiasm during her tenure at AHS," Kemper said. "When our program was in need, she jumped in to take over with very little experience and, under the circumstances, was very impressive."
Fulton took over for Bob Julian Jr. in 2012 after Julian Jr. and Bob Julian Sr. had combined to coach the AHS cross country team from 1971 through 2011.
Roupp has guided the AHS boys soccer team to five league titles, four playoff appearances and a trip to the Class 5A state championship game in 2008, his first year as head coach. The Grizzlies are 49-26-4 under Roupp, who replaced Eisa Tiaa Tutu following the '07 season.
Roupp is planning on spending the time off traveling with his daughter, former AHS two-sport standout Jamie Roupp, and watching his son, Nate Roupp, who guided Ashland to the '08 state championship game as the SSC player of the year, play soccer for Sonoma State University.
Guled will be Ashland's interim coach until Brad Roupp returns.
"Brad has had a long history of success at the helm with competitive, classy teams and we expect Abdi to continue that tradition with a smooth transition," Kemper said.