Coming off a nine-win season – its most victories in 13 years -- Days Creek football is adjusting to a change at the top.
David Hunt, who went 39-19 in six seasons as the Wolves' coach, stepped down last spring and was replaced by Travis Fuller, a 2009 Days Creek graduate who has assisted in the junior high and high school programs since 2011.
Athletic director James Ellis said that Fuller, born and raised in Days Creek, was the heir apparent to Hunt. As a varsity assistant from 2013 to 2018, Fuller served mostly as offensive coordinator at the 1A school.
“It was a good time for David to step down,” Ellis said. “I think he saw that the program is still strong, and you don't want to leave the cupboard bare. What he did was a noble thing for Travis, knowing that Travis was ready and that was going to be a natural hand-off. I commend David a lot for doing that.”
Fuller and his three brothers all played football for Days Creek, where his mother, Debbie, also graduated. His father, Rex, was a two-time state champion wrestler for Riddle (1972-73).
“I've been in this community basically my whole life, and to have this opportunity, it's really awesome,” said Fuller, an instructional assistant at the high school who also has assisted in the basketball program and coached junior high track.
Fuller was attending Umpqua Community College when he began coaching the junior high team in 2011. He coached his youngest brother, Colton, for two seasons in junior high before joining the high school staff.
In his first season at the high school, he coached Colton and their brother Jase, who was a senior. The Wolves, playing an independent eight-man schedule, finished 8-1 that season.
“That was really special for me and my family,” Fuller said, “having them on the same team together, and playing together, and being able to coach them and be a part of that. That was really fun and really kind of hooked me into coaching young kids. That was a great experience.”
In 2019, Fuller returned to coach the junior high team, which played a six-man schedule due to a shortage of players. He also spent part of the season assisting with the high school team.
When Hunt resigned, Ellis said it was an easy choice to promote Fuller.
“It wasn't even close,” Ellis said. “He is such a good guy, willing to do anything. Works for us so hard, has volunteered in so many programs. He's a student of the game, just kind of jumps in and really studies game film. He really wants to be a head coach. He's done it the right way. He's gone through the right channels and put his time in. So it was time.”
Days Creek finished 9-2 last season, its best record since going 10-3 in 2006. The Wolves were runners-up to Camas Valley in the Special District 2 West Division and reached the state quarterfinals before falling to St. Paul 56-6.
Days Creek graduated standout quarterback Gerritt Wentland but returns several key players, including its top two rushers in seniors Jackson Williams and Cauy Jackson. The line is back largely intact.
“I feel like there's a lot of potential,” Fuller said. “I think we're going to have a great senior class. There's going to be a lot of leadership there. There are going to be kids setting the tone, hopefully.”
The Wolves will have an entirely new coaching staff. Two parents have come aboard in line coach Neil Jackson, the father of Cauy and a member of Days Creek's 1996 state runner-up team, and Greg Rickards, who is likely to be the defensive coordinator, according to Fuller.
Fuller's relationship with Hunt, who remains at the school as a teacher and head track coach, has made the transition relatively seamless.
“He's very open to me coming to him,” Fuller said. “I've already gone to him with several head coaching questions. He's been a great source already.”
Fuller, the offensive coordinator, said he will evaluate the playbook and consider changes.
“A lot of it is going to depend on how the kids respond,” he said. “There are a lot of things I want to change, but I hope to bring enough familiarity from the last couple years, and my terminology, into the picture, that the atmosphere will be comfortable to learn in and get better in.”