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Hood River Valley hires new athletic director

By BEN MCCARTY

News staff writer

July 29, 2006

The Hood River Valley High School athletic department has a new head man for next year. Brent Walsh, formerly the athletic director at Sheldon High School in Eugene, is ready to set up shop.

“I see Hood River stepping up and doing some things,” Walsh said as he prepared to head back to Eugene to sell his house.

Walsh spent seven years at Sheldon, and coached wrestling before taking on athletic director duties as well three and a half years ago. Walsh was praised by Eugene School District Athletic Director Pat Latimer for his ability to integrate coaching staffs and get them to work well together.

“He was able to meld (coaches) together,” Latimer said. “His real strength is working with people.”

Walsh will need that talent right off the bat, as Hood River Valley just completed hiring three new coaches for boys’ basketball, volleyball and baseball. (For more coverage on the coaching hiring see the next issue of the Hood River News.)

Sheldon has a strong tradition for athletics, winning a 4A state football title in 2002 and winning back-to-back girls’ soccer state titles in 2003 and 2004. Walsh wants to carry over with that tradition in Hood River.

The Southern Oregon University grad and former college wrestler believes that is certainly possible as Hood River Valley prepares to play in the newly joined Mt. Hood Conference this year.

“It looks like a pretty equal playing field,” Walsh said.

After splitting time between wrestling and athletic director duties at Sheldon, Walsh will only be wearing the athletic director’s hat at Hood River.

“He goes that extra mile and he works hard,” Latimer said.

With the start of the school year quickly approaching, Walsh will have no time to waste in getting to know his staff and the student athletes; something that a man who describes himself as “married to his school” feels he should have no problem with.

“People ask me how many kids I have and I say ‘about 1,700,’” Walsh said.

While Pat Latimer is sorry to see Walsh go, he is confident that he will find success in Hood River.

“Hood River got a really good person,” he said.

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