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Rumrey back on North sidelines

The former Black Tornado head coach returns as an assistant in charge of the running backs

All it took was a little arm twisting to lure Rod Rumrey back to the football sidelines at North Medford High.

Rumrey, who retired as the Black Tornado head coach following the 2000 season, has returned as an assistant coach in charge of running backs.

I approached him after last season and he said he needed some time to think about it, North Medford head coach John Beck said. I think it was the following day when Rod said, 'Hey, I'm there.'

— Rumrey retired as the 12th winningest coach in state history. He compiled a record of 205-96 during stints at Glendale, Sweet Home and North Medford that covered a total of 30 years, and won state titles at Sweet Home and North.

His final Tornado team finished as the state runner-up to Jesuit in 2000.

Rumrey admits he never completely quit coaching football since turning in his resignation in March of 2001. He did some scouting and broke down a little film for the Tornado, and last fall he helped coach a seventh-grade squad at Hedrick Middle School.

My heart has been with North Medford the whole time, he said.

Rumrey is downplaying his new role as running backs coach, characterizing his contributions as minor. But Beck said Rumrey will be a valuable asset to the Tornado staff.

With his fire, enthusiasm and knowledge of the game, he's going to help us out a ton, Beck said. And he'll do more than just coach the running backs. We'll be tapping his brain for some game-planning.

When he was the head coach at North Medford, Rumrey developed some of the premier running backs in the Southern Oregon Conference, if not the state. Matt Miller, Kerry Curtis, Nate Philo and Phil Ouellette all ran for more than 1,000 yards and earned first-team, all-conference accolades while playing for Rumrey.

Curtis was also the SOC's offensive Player of the Year during the Tornado's state title run in 1993.

Rod turns good backs into great ones, but he'll also take a kid who's not even a good athlete and turn him into a capable running back, Beck said. It's just really exciting having Rod back on our staff.

Rumrey, who has been an assistant coach in softball at North Medford since 1990, said he'll be content being an assistant in football. He won't miss the pressure and stress that went with being the head coach, nor will he miss the extraordinary amount of time he put in when he guided the program.

During the 2000 season, Rumrey said his staff coached together for 180 straight days.

the far the most enjoyable parts of football for me have been No. 1, Friday nights, and No. 2, just being on the field with the kids, he said. I look forward to being back in those situations.

Reach reporter Don Hunt at 776-4469, or e-mail