Kent WigleIt's been 35 years since a South Umpqua football team played for a state title, but one former Lancer coach made it a regular occurrence appearing in the championship game four times in seven years. Douglas County Sports Online recognizes Kent Wigle as its latest DC Great.

Wigle was an outstanding prep athlete at Riddle High School and went on to play college baseball at Southern Oregon University in Ashland. He eventually made his way back to Douglas County accepting a teaching position at South Umpqua High School. Wigle also became the school's head football coach in 1971.

In his 17 seasons in Tri City, he led the Lancers to four state championship games, including one win, one loss and two ties. South Umpqua beat Tillamook for the 1977 state title with the ties coming against Gold Beach in 1976 and Siuslaw in 1981. The Lancers lost to Vale in 1975.

Brian Johnson (class of '85) was a two-year starter at wide receiver for Coach Wigle and was a freshman when the Lancers played in the 1981 title game.

"Coach was all about teaching us the right way to do things," Johnson said. "He was a great role model and taught the kids that played for him to respect the coaching staff, teachers and our parents."

Wigle left South Umpqua with an impressive record of 134-39-2 and would continue his coaching success at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay. In 21 seasons on the coast, the Pirates were 173-60 with a pair of state title appearances. Marshfield won a state championship in 1992 and made the playoffs 18 times during Wigle's tenure.

Between the two schools, Wigle went 307-99-2 overall and is the third winningest coach in Oregon history. He was also named the national coach of the year in 2005.

The football stadium at South Umpqua High School was officially named after Coach Wigle during a dedication ceremony at the end of the 2014 season. He is the second South Umpqua coaching legend (with Frosty Loghry) to be honored at the facility.

Raechel Warren 6It's rare to see athletics and pageants mix, but a former Roseburg High School athlete is making waves both on and off the soccer field. A 4-year varsity player for the Indians who also put in time at Northwest Christian University, Douglas County Sports Online recognizes Miss Douglas County 2016 Raechel Warren as its DC Great.

Growing up in Roseburg, the 19-year-old NCU student graduated from RHS in 2014 and has lived in Roseburg her entire life.

Warren played two seasons for NCU's women's soccer team following four years on the Indians' varsity squad.

In the spring of 2016, Raechel took her love of roller skating to the stage, competing and winning the crown at the Miss Douglas County Scholarship Pageant.

"I have been a competitive artistic roller skater with Parkview Skate team in Roseburg since I was 3 years old," Raechel told Douglas County Sports Online.

In soccer at Roseburg, Warren was a four year letter winner receiving 1st Team All League honors her junior year in the Southern Oregon Hybrid League and Honorable Mention her senior year.

At NCU, she earned Academic All-Conference honors her sophomore year in 2015.

"Raechel is a very hard working and dedicated young woman," says Adam Blue, her former Roseburg High soccer coach. "She's determined to better herself, wants to be the best and sets high expectations for herself, always giving 100% effort in everything she does. She's passionate about the things she does. As her coach and teacher, I saw this on the field and in the classroom; she's not satisfied with being mediocre. Raechel is an outstanding young woman."

Raechel Warren NCU soccer

Raechel notched even more impressive awards in skating. She's a three-time defending regional champion with second and third place showings at the United States Roller Sports National Championships. She was also awarded the Rudy Leppin Sportsmanship award given out by the Pacific Northwest region.

She was also a member the Roseburg High marching band for four years, and heavily involved in the band program. She won the District solo and ensemble competition her senior year and placed in the state's top 10.

The well rounded student continues to be involved.

"Athletics have played a huge role in my life," Raechel says. "All of the coaches I've had over the years have impacted me in so many ways. Each has taught me so many valuable lessons both on and of the field; lessons I can take with me wherever I go. I also love the team aspect of soccer, as well the intensity of the game. Skating is tough also, but is a huge stress reliever for me and is one of my biggest passions."

Raechel Warren RHS soccer

She credits many in her past for helping with her success.

"Aside from my amazing parents and family, my high school band director, Mr. Branden Hansen, has been a huge inspiration to me as a musician and music major, but also as a person. He makes every student feel valuable while having a ton of fun and bettering our musical skills," Raechel explains.

"Raechel is easily one of the strongest students I have ever had as a teacher," Roseburg High Director of Bands Branden Hansen tells Douglas County Sports Online. "Although she's a very gifted and expressive musician, it's her integrity and character that are truly admirable. Raechel is an extremely thoughtful individual and always pushing herself to give her best for the benefit of others. As a student she strove for individual excellence and did everything she could to help improve the band's performance and morale."

Hansen says Raechel's presence in the program improved the atmosphere for everyone.

"While at RHS she was not only an example to her peers, but also to me," Hansen adds. "Raechel is kind, sincere, and unassuming in ways that I still strive to emulate. She is without a doubt the kind of student a teacher loves having in class."

Warren credits many other mentors in her life as well.

"My skating coach, Diana Colby, has been another incredible role model to me," she says. "Being my mother’s coach and now mine, she is truly like second family and has also taught me so many things through her actions as both a coach and a mentor."

Raechel Warren Miss DC

Warren had previously competed in the Distinguished Young Women (formerly known as the Jr. Miss pageant) and was a local titleholder prior to her running for the Miss Douglas County crown.

"I love what these types of programs do for girls’ self confidence. I had always looked up to the previous Miss Douglas Countys but never thought that I would be in their shoes."

She says her best friend, Miss Douglas County 2015 Cassidy Smith, motivated and encouraged her to compete in April.

"I have enjoyed every minute of the process and the opportunities that come with the experience," Raechel says. "I love meeting people in our community and representing the place that has raised me."

Raechel Warren 7

She also told Douglas County Sports Online about the challenges of competing at the pageant.

"You’re always hopeful that you will win and I gave it my all, but ultimately it’s up to the judges and you never know what will happen," Raechel recalled.

"Raechel is an incredible young woman and such a joy to work with," says Miss Douglas County Scholarship Pageant Director Summer Fox. "She has a tenacity and drive that not many people her age have. She is focused and determined and always gives 110% in all that she does. I have no doubt that, no matter where life takes her, she will accomplish great things. Her passion for all that she does is infectious."

"It was so amazing to be crowned by Cassidy and to join this incredible family. I chose skating as my talent because it is heavily incorporated into my platform, as it's one of my biggest passions. I absolutely love doing it and it’s important to perform a talent that shows your passion. It is also so unique and I can’t wait to do it at the Miss Oregon Program in June."

(updated 8/6/16)

Kevin ShaferThe 1990's was a successful decade for the Douglas High baseball program which included the school's only state championship in 1992. Douglas County Sports Online honors former all-state pitcher Kevin Shafer as its latest DC Great.

Baseball became a fixture in Winston when the 1989 club made it to the Class AA title game beginning a stretch of 13 consecutive playoff appearances. Shafer was a freshman on that team and always dreamed of playing in and winning a state championship. The following season Douglas lost in the first round, but bounced back in 1991 going all the way to the state semifinals. Then came Kevin's senior year and the Trojans would not be denied, losing just one game to Roseburg and finishing the season with a 6-2 victory over St. Helens to win the 3A trophy.    

"It was quite a journey getting to the state title game because it's something we had all worked for since we were 13 years old," Shafer said. "We were a good group of athletes and once we got to high school there was a tradition of being good and we wanted to be better than the class before us."

Many of the players on the roster went on to play college baseball, including Kevin who attended the College of Southern Idaho. Some of the other key players on the 1992 Trojans were Brian Dustin (SS), Kevin Tommasini (CF), Andy Osborne (1B), Greg Withers (C) and pitcher Lance Hedquist.

"Rather than having an ace of the pitching staff, Lance and I were more like 1A and 1B," Shafer said. "We were also blessed with great coaches in Dan Withers and Rod Trask and both of them were also the core of the Dr. Stewart's staff."

Kevin was 29-3 during his prep career finishing as a back-to-back first team all-state selection and 1992's Far West League player of the year going 13-0 with a 0.89 ERA and 144 strikeouts in his final season. He also played three summers for the Dr. Stewart's American Legion baseball program and pitched in the Junior College World Series as a freshman. Shafer eventually signed with Lewis and Clark State, but an elbow injury ended his playing career early.

"I had a chance to sign with the Oakland A's, but chose to go to school," Kevin said. "It would have helped me get a coaching job in professional baseball, but I don't have any regrets. I'm pretty satisfied with what I accomplished." Kevin Shafer small

Today, Kevin lives in Medford with his wife and three daughters and is the associate head baseball coach at OIT in Klamath Falls. He was also recently named the chairman of Area 4 American Legion baseball.

"I'm in charge of both single-A and triple-A baseball and the job ranges from processing paperwork, resolving coaching issues and overall, making sure the area runs right," Shafer said. "It's hard to believe I've been involved in baseball for more than 30 years."

EliWolfe 03It's not uncommon for a former high school athlete to end up coaching at his or her alma mater, but it is a rare feat when that person is able to win a state championship as both a player and coach. Douglas County Sports Online salutes Camas Valley head football coach Eli Wolfe as its latest DC Great.

Eli grew up in the rural, tight-knit community of Camas Valley and one of his fondest memories was watching his cousins, Scott and Richard, play football for the Hornets. He idolized local athletes like former runnning back Shane Walker and knew from a young age that he too wanted to play football for his high school team.

"I would go to home games and play in the back of the endzones just like the kids do today," Wolfe said. "When I was a seventh grader, my friend and I took the rooter bus to St. Paul for a playoff game and I remember Travis Hunt was our running back, Pete Dancer was a freshman on that team and we lost 36-6. I can tell you the scores of games, places they were played and even the numbers of the players. History, tradition and pride has always meant something to me and it always will."

Eli's lifelong dream of wearing the black and gold finally came true in 1989 when he made the varsity football team as a freshman. He started one game that season as the Hornets went 9-0 before losing to Alsea in the state semifinals. The following year Wolfe would become the team's starting quarterback, but struggled in the classroom and was ineligible for three games because of grades.

"I wasn't fond of school and sports is what kept me motivated," Eli said. "Football helped me to do the right thing and I was lucky to have a great mentor in Coach (Bob) Phelps and he deserved a lot of credit for keeping me focused."EliWolfe 01

"Eli was in one of my classes and failed to turn in some work, so I suspended him from the team," former head coach Bob Phelps said. "He didn't think I would do it, but I remember him telling me later that it was the best thing that happened to him because he suddenly realzied he couldn't do only what he wanted to do."

The hard work and determination would pay off as the Hornets qualified for the state playoffs despite losing a pair of games during the regular season. Camas Valley shut out Alsea 34-0 in a rematch of the previous year's semifinal game and avenged an earlier season loss to league opponent Butte Falls with an 18-8 win over the Loggers. The Hornets capped off the year with a 26-6 victory over Prairie City in the state title game at Parker Stadium in Corvallis.

"Eli had good speed, he was feisty, a great hitter and wouldn't back down," Phelps said. "He was also a natural leader, but he respected the older kids and he earned their respect by outplaying everybody on the field."

Wolfe's final two seasons of football were both successful, but ended exactly the same with Camas Valley suffering semifinal losses to the St. Paul Buckaroos. After his senior year, he was named first team all-league at three different positions including quarterback, linebacker and kicker. 

"I never played football in college, but I did get to suit up four more times," Eli said. "In March of 1993, I went to England and played two games for the Oregon All-Stars and I played in both the 8-man All-Star game and the Shriners game."

During his prep career in Douglas County, Wolfe also played four years of varsity basketball and track.

Seven years after graduating from Camas Valley, Eli was hired as the school's head football coach and given the monumental task of turning around a once successful program. Prior to his arrival the Hornets played just 1 1/2 games before being forced to forfeit the season due to a lack of players.

"My first team consisted of nine freshman and three sophomores and I committed to coaching the freshman group until they graduated," Wolfe said. "I kept my word, but shortly after I resigned one of my former players, Tyler Plikat, was killed in a car crash and that tragedy made me realize how much the kids needed me and how much I needed them, so I decided to stay on and coach."

EliWolfe 02Fifteen seasons after it began Eli has built a mini-dynasty in Camas Valley leading the Hornets to three state championship games during his tenure and winning titles in 2011 and 2012. Wolfe credits the success to a dedicated wife of 20 years, a great community and to his longtime assistant coaches Pete Dancer and Chad Bachmeier. EliWolfe Headshot

"We've gone through some tough times with only eight kids on the roster and losing every game to dominating the state and winning a title," Eli said. "Our team has been honored at the state capital, I've spoke at an 8-man football clinic in Montana and had the opportunity to talk with youngsters at 13 area schools."

The 2014 season marks Eli's 15th year as the school's head coach making him the second longest tenured football coach in Douglas County behind only Roseburg's Thurman Bell. Wolfe has also coached two of his sons, Eli ('13) and Kai ('15), with youngest son Bryson ('18) heading to the Camas Valley campus next fall.

Thurman BellWhen the high school football season officially opened August 17, there was a familiar figure standing on the turf at Finlay Field in Roseburg. Douglas County Sports Online is proud to honor head football coach Thurman Bell as its latest DC Great.

The 2015 season marks Bell's 45th and final year as the head football coach at Roseburg High School. He is the all-time leader in wins at the Class 6A level in Oregon and among coaches in every classification, Bell ranks second behind only Dayton’s Dewey Sullivan.

"I'm a seasonal coach and I don't do it year round and that's why most of the younger coaches burn out after 10 or 12 years," Thurman said. "Once the season ends, I don't do anything football related until the first Monday in July when we start our summer skills program."

Bell's career record at RHS sits at 330-147-1 putting him 22 victories away from tying Sullivan's all-time mark of 352 wins and that means the 72-year old will fall short of the record.

"At one time, (breaking Sullivan's mark) was a consideration, but the betterment of the program is the important thing. I can't do this forever,” he told the Portland Tribune.

During his tenure, the Indians won big-school state titles in 1981, 1990, 1995 and 1996 and finished as runner-up five times. However, it's been 17 years since Roseburg’s last journey to the OSAA finals losing the 1998 title game in overtime to Ashland.

“It’s a lot tougher to get to the championship game today because coaching around the state has greatly improved,” Thurman said. “In the past, there were only an isolated few, but now the competition is much better.”

The 2015 Roseburg Indians could be the team that leads Bell back to the finals for the tenth time in his career, but whether the Indians win the state championship or not, you can bet Thurman Bell will be remembered as one of the greatest coaches in the history of Oregon high school athletics.

"I've had four opportunities in my career to move on to the college level and I've never regretted my decision to stay at Roseburg," Thurman said. "I've always felt coaching high school football is my niche and feel lucky that I was able to find something I love to do."

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