Dales steps down as Eastlake football coach, Parnell named interim | Prep football news
By JOSH SUMAN
Issaquah Reporter Sports Reporter
September 11, 2012 · Updated 9:55 PM
New Eastlake interim head football coach Pat Parnell will no doubt face a litany of challenges as he takes over the 0-2 Wolves in-season after the resignation of head coach Gene Dales. Matching the energy level of his players will not be one of them.
The defensive coordinator until Monday, Parnell hit the field with his team for only the second time as head coach on Tuesday and the excitement was obvious from the outset.
Despite the unfortunate timing of Dales' forced resignation, which was due to the death of his father and a wife who is also struggling with health issues, Parnell said the entire program is prepared for the road ahead.
"It was sad to know that he's going through some personal struggles," Parnell said of Dales. "I'm excited for the opportunity to be able to step up and help lead these guys."
Players said even with the news that their leader was stepping aside, Monday's practice was upbeat and the team was quickly able to regain focus for this week's showdown with Seattle Prep.
"It was tough, coach Dales was a great coach" senior DK Thornton said. "But everyone is excited for a new beginning."
Parnell, who previously coached on staffs at his alma mater Juanita and Eastlake's fiercest rival, Redmond, said players and coaches have already begun rising to the challenge, adding, "It's not about me. It's about Eastlake football."
Dales led the program to its first ever KingCo title game appearance last year and took his team to the 4A state tournament in each of the past two seasons. Eastlake has dropped games to Lakeridge (Oregon) and 3A neighbor Eastside Catholic to start the season and will host Prep on Friday at 7 p.m.
While it will be a new face leading the Wolves out of the locker room, the mantra of "brotherhood" that has permeated the team will remain, according to Parnell.
"Our job is to be the best Eastlake possible," he said. "The objective doesn't change."
New Eastlake head football coach Pat Parnell works on technique with members of his kickoff team at practice on Tuesday. JOSH SUMAN, ISSAQUAH-SAMMAMISH REPORTER
Parnell played at Bethel University after his prep days as a Rebel. This is his second year on the Eastlake staff. JOSH SUMAN, ISSAQUAH-SAMMAMISH REPORTER
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