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Challengers retain Gettman

Jon Gettman had a notion that he would remain in his position as head coach in football at Cascade Christian High, but it's always nice to know for sure.

Gettman, who guided the Challengers as interim head coach last fall, recently was made the team's official head coach as a sign of support and approval by the school's administrators. Cascade Christian won the Southern Cascade Hybrid title and went 10-3 overall last year, losing in the Class 3A state semifinals.

"If last year's any testament of future years, I think there's a lot for us to be excited for," said Cascade Christian Athletic Director Dave Fennell.

In a related move, Fennell also said the school has hired Rob Kleker to take over the volleyball program. Kleker replaces Sabrina Schubert, who is pregnant and expecting a baby girl this fall. The Challengers were ousted in their state playoff opener by eventual champion Santiam Christian.

"She did a great job and I think it's going to be a good passing of the baton over to Rob," said Fennell. "He's got a lot of good talent coming back and I think he's just going to be very good, he's very relatable and very steady."

Kleker served as head coach at Eagle Point the past three seasons.

Fennell said he looked at Gettman's career with the program and not just last season in coming to his final decision. A 2003 graduate of Cascade Christian, Gettman served as a junior varsity assistant in 2004 and '05, advanced to varsity assistant in 2006 and '07 under head coach Andy Maurer and then served as offensive coordinator in 2008 and '09. The school placed an interim tag on his hiring when he replaced Maurer prior to the 2010 campaign.

"When we looked at that and the job he's done and his potential," said Fennell, "as an athletic director anytime I can get a really young, talented coach like him who's also a teacher at the school is a win-win."

Gettman said continuing to coach the Challengers, with or without an interim tag, really has been his main focus since graduating from Southern Oregon University in 2008.

"I never really focused on that (interim tag) throughout the year," he said of last year's first venture as a head coach. "Our focus was on the kids and trying to get them prepared to play. It was never really important at all for me whether I was or wasn't going to be anything."

Fennell and Gettman first discussed him taking over the football program for good in January, but delayed any formal announcement until all factors could be taken care of, on and off the field. Of particular importance for Gettman was in securing a quality supporting cast of assistants, especially the ones who made his transition that much easier one year ago.

That list grew in the offseason when Jeff Olson stepped down as head coach at North Medford High. Some had rumored Olson to be destined to take over at Cascade Christian, but Olson was quick to say that he didn't want to alter an already thriving program under Gettman. Instead, the former SOU head coach will be one of 10 assistants Gettman has to call upon for this coming season.

"He's been unbelievable," Gettman, 27, said of Olson, whose son Dante is an incoming freshman at CCHS. "He's a humble man and said he'd do just about anything to help. Anytime we can use him, he doesn't care where he's at. He helps all of us. He helps me understand the game better, as well as all of our other coaches. I'm just really excited to have Jeff here to help us get better."

Barry Fronek returns as the football program's director of operations, and Olson joins a list of volunteer assistants that includes Jerry Burchfiel, Mike Schaan, Andy Scaglione, Dave Heidegger, Jim Killam, Greg Enrite, Steve Knox, Kevin Scott and Steve Furst.

"We've gotten quite a bit of interest, a lot of guys who've come and volunteered their time," Gettman said of the assistants. "I'm pretty fortunate to have the guys that I do. It certainly helps. Back when I first started it was three guys up on the varsity and two guys maybe on JV. We've doubled in size."

Gettman said the extra hands will be especially important considering the Challengers expect to field three teams this fall and have close to 60 kids out for football.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, or email khenry@mailtribune.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Kris_Henry or on Facebook.

Jon Gettman led Cascade Christian to a 10-3 record in his first season as coach. - Photo courtesy of Cascade Christian