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Pflug fills void for Crusaders

Tim Pflug has had a lot of success coaching basketball.

Now the 52-year-old St. Mary's physical education teacher will try his hand at another sport.

Pflug has become the Crusaders head football coach on a one-year interim basis ' a void created when Pete Zappas departed the small, Medford private school almost two months ago.

Pflug's Crusader basketball teams have made four straight Class 2A state tournament appearances and have won three consecutive Southern Cascade League championships.

— Pflug approached St. Mary's former principal Bo Buran when the search process began for another football coach in the spring and volunteered his services if a suitable candidate could not be found.

When the school couldn't fill the vacancy, Pflug was selected as the interim coach the second week in June. He will still be the boys basketball coach.

This can turn into a good thing because it gives the administration a full year to search for someone with a good background, says Pflug, who's been teaching at the school for nine years. I know all the kids and I was concerned about someone coming in with a new system.

Pflug has retained Mike Rust Sr. off last year's staff. Rust, father of senior quarterback Mike Rust Jr., will be offensive coordinator.

Pflug, who played collegiately at El Camino Community College in Southern California, will handle defensive responsibilities.

Also on the staff are St. Mary's alumnus Forest Rupnick and Bill Fetty, the Crusaders softball coach.

In 1988, Pflug tried out as a 37-year-old wide receiver at SOU, but suffered a knee injury in a scrimmage prior to the season.

While Pflug never suited up for the Raiders, he was an assistant coach for three years at SOU under Jim Palazzolo.

Already this summer, Pflug put together a passing league. He plans to retain the wing-T offense and use a 4-3 defensive formation.

I tweaked the defense a little and added a couple of new pass patterns, says Pflug. I didn't want to make any wholesale changes.

Zappas turned the program around with a 7-2 record his first year as head coach last season. In 2001, the team was 3-5 with Zappas assisting Dick Maurer. The Crusaders return to SCL play this season after a two-year absence.

St. Mary's opens the season with two non-conference games, then begins league action at Riddle on Sept. 19.

The Crusaders complete the campaign in the Holy Bowl against rival Cascade Christian, which hasn't been on the docket the past two years.

Reach reporter Frank Silow at 776-4480, or e-mail