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Would a blast from past be good for Tornado?

When the head football position at North Medford opened up last week following the resignation of Jeff Olson, it likely didn't take long for fans of the Black Tornado to ponder who might be a good candidate to assume control of the program.

Such a question is only natural, as are some of the candidates.

Anyone looking for a return to the glory days at North Medford might lean toward Rod Rumrey. It was Rumrey who spearheaded some of North's top teams since the school was formed in 1986, and it was also Rumrey who stepped back into the fold in 2005 following the departure of head coach John Beck to Crater.

Rumrey remained on staff for one season after Olson took over the reins in 2006, and returned in 2005 as a favor to North Medford administrators and boosters who were caught off guard by Beck's departure. Still, Rumrey could be found in the fall teaching football to Pop Warner youths — including his grandsons — on the field adjacent to where the Black Tornado varsity went through its paces.

He has not indicated he wants to return, North Medford Athletics Director Tim Sam said last week.

"I'm sure there will be some discussions with Rod at some level," said Sam. "Whether or not that is, 'Do you want to coach?' I don't know. I talk to Rod almost every week and he's never shown any interest to me in coming back as a coach. I know he's interested in the program, so that conversation could be if he has any names of potential coaches or if he's interested."

In all, Rumrey notched a 94-62 mark at North Medford, leading the Black Tornado to the state championship in 1993 and a runner-up showing in 2000.

Another intriguing possibility involves former North Medford assistant Steve Turner, who has turned Mountain View into one of the top teams at the Class 5A level.

Turner's Cougars suffered their first loss of the season in last week's state semifinals against Sherwood, and few in attendance will forget the domination Mountain View showed in steam-rolling the Black Tornado 43-10 on Sept. 10 at Spiegelberg Stadium.

Turner has been with Mountain View for six seasons overall, the last three as head coach. Under his guidance, the Cougars have amassed a 28-6 record and advanced at least as far as the state quarterfinals in every season.

Prior to his time in Bend and Medford, Turner spent the first 20 years of his coaching career as a member of the Cascade High staff.

Sam said the school would be formulating a list of potential candidates and use a "wide-scope" in finding a successor to Olson.

Making matters difficult is the budgetary concerns among school districts across the state and the inability to gauge available on-campus teaching positions.


THE WINTER SEASON officially kicks off Wednesday for boys basketball, girls basketball, wrestling and swimming. Teams have been able to practice since Nov. 15.


THE OSAA EXECUTIVE BOARD will hear a pair of requests that should be of interest to the folks in Southern Oregon during next Monday's meeting.

The first request involves freezing the power rankings prior to the first round of play-in games, and the second involves a petition by St. Mary's High to move from Class 3A status to independent status in football.

In terms of freezing the power rankings, the move hopefully will be adopted after the fall season proved that continuing to compile the rankings during the play-in games can greatly skew a team's status depending on their opposition.

In the case of the North Medford football team, its predetermined matchup in the play-in round was against winless Clackamas, giving the Black Tornado a double whammy after twice beating the 0-10 squad this season. The setup forced North Medford to drop six spots heading into the 32-team state playoff bracket.

Such a drop by the Tornado also affected the ranking of all but one of the four automatic qualifiers from the Southwest Conference, leaving the league foes to enter the playoffs at least one spot lower than they were heading into the play-in games.

The petition by St. Mary's High in football has been expected since the Crusaders were forced to forfeit their final four games due to a shortage of healthy players available. St. Mary's had dwindled from 20 to 12 players due to a rash of injuries during the season.

The move mirrors one made by the Crusaders in 2000 after they were forced to forfeit the final four games of that season when they were down to 10 players. After that season, St. Mary's adopted an independent schedule for two years — allowing it to avoid mismatches on the field — and used that momentum to keep alive a football program that has won or shared nine state championships and twice been runner-up dating back to 1959.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, or e-mail khenry@mailtribune.com