Former Jesuit and Oregon lineman Charlie Landgraf was the offensive line coach at Central Catholic in 2021 and 2022.
Former Jesuit and Oregon lineman Charlie Landgraf was the offensive line coach at Central Catholic in 2021 and 2022.

Charlie Landgraf, announced as Central Catholic's new football coach Tuesday, is under no illusions about the soaring expectations he will face with the team.

Landgraf, an assistant with the Rams for two seasons before getting his first head-coaching job last year at 4A Marist Catholic, knows he has a tough act to follow in Steve Pyne, who last fall guided the team to its fifth 6A championship since 2013 before leaving to take the job at Union of Vancouver.

“It's a blessing to be at a place where the expectations are really high,” Landgraf said. “That part really excites me as a coach and a competitor. They've been the top program the last decade.

“I feel really fortunate to have spent a couple years there under Steve. There are things that we're going to keep in place that work, but I'm excited to kind of bring my own flair, my own style to the whole thing. … I'm ready to get back up to Portland and keep this thing rolling.”

Landgraf has a head start at Central Catholic considering he not only has established working relationships with most of the coaches, but he coached many of the players as freshmen and sophomores.

“To be able to get back up there and connect with them, and coach them for their junior and senior year, that's going to be super special for me,” Landgraf said.

Landgraf was an offensive lineman at Jesuit and walked on at Oregon, where he played on the 2019 Rose Bowl team as a senior. He served as an assistant offensive line coach at UNLV under coach Marcos Arroyo in 2020, then coached the offensive line at Central Catholic in 2021 and 2022.

He replaced Frank Geske at Marist Catholic last season and led the Spartans to an 11-2 record and 4A runner-up finish. He said he is grateful to Marist Catholic principal Robert Fraley and president David Welch “for the opportunity they gave me to lead a program at such a young age.”

Central Catholic interviewed Landgraf last week and offered him the job Monday night.

“They reached out a few weeks ago,” he said. “There was always a mutual interest and a familiarity. Once I went up and interviewed and felt good about it and knew this could be a possibility, I was just super excited.”

In a Central Catholic release, athletic director Laura Jaeger said Landgraf “has the skills, charisma, and experience” to continue building on the team's culture of success.

“Charlie’s emphasis on commitment, mental toughness, and respect are traits we value and which we have seen him model in his coaching and teaching career,” Jaeger said. “He walks the talk, and his passion for coaching is evident both on and off the field.”

Pyne said that Landgraf has a no-nonsense approach to coaching.

“He's got high expectations and he doesn't deal a lot with excuses,” Pyne said. “I was impressed with Charlie and our offensive line. He just held those kids accountable.”

Does Pyne expect Landgraf to take the Rams in a different direction?

“It's his program now, he can do with it what he wants,” Pyne said. “I would hope that in the couple years that we were together, that some of the stuff that I did, and how we did it, it kind of rubbed off on him, and he doesn't just throw the baby out with the bath water. It's not like he's coming into a program that needs a big reset.”

Landgraf, who will teach PE and social studies at Central Catholic, now needs to put together a coaching staff. He said he “might have to fight” Pyne to retain some of the assistants.

“The goal is to keep as many that want to stick around coaching,” Landgraf said. “I think that continuity will be big as we transition to a new era.”

Landgraf said he received a text from Pyne on Tuesday after the announcement. Pyne went 194-54 in 21 seasons at Central Catholic.

“He was such a great mentor my two years there,” Landgraf said. “We continued to talk this past year when I was at Marist. I'm really appreciative of his support.”

Central Catholic's outlook for next season is bright. The Rams need to replace dynamic quarterback Cru Newman – who went 38-2 as a starter, accounting for 120 touchdowns – but have much talent eligible to return in running backs Tyson Davis and Killian Sombe, receivers D'Marieon Gates, Landon Kelsey and Zhaiel Smith and tight end Andreas Nicolaidis.

“There's weapons all over the field,” Landgraf said.

Landgraf is especially eager to reconnect with Zac Stascausky, a 6-foot-6, 275-pound junior tackle who shows great promise.

“We were super close,” Landgraf said. “That one's going to be extra special.”

As he prepares to move north from Eugene, Landgraf said he is “super sad” to leave Marist Catholic behind. He said the Spartans are well positioned to contend in 4A again next season.

“It's a talented Marist team coming back,” he said. “They've got a lot of pieces in place to make a run at it. I'm just hoping there's a continuity going into next season for them.”