Layne Coffin coached Vallivue of Caldwell into the Idaho 4A playoffs in each of the last five seasons. (Photo by Otto Kitsinger)
Layne Coffin coached Vallivue of Caldwell into the Idaho 4A playoffs in each of the last five seasons. (Photo by Otto Kitsinger)

Layne Coffin followed his three children to Eugene after retiring as the football coach at Vallivue of Caldwell, Idaho, in March.

And now football has met him there.

Coffin, 62, is the new coach at 5A Churchill. He brings with him a career record of 124-95 that includes two state championships (2000, 2001) at Century of Pocatello.

“It was just time for me to leave Idaho and retire,” Coffin said. “I figured I'd do a little more coaching somewhere. I just didn't want to be in the classroom all day long anymore. I saw the opportunity and somehow we got in connection, and that was it. I'm looking forward to it.”

Coffin's son, two daughters and four grandchildren have relocated to the Eugene area.

“Me and my wife said, 'Gee, everybody's gone, we should go. Don't want to get left behind,'” Coffin said. “'They're all over there having fun, what are we doing?'”

A graduate of Pocatello High School and Idaho State, Coffin landed his first head-coaching job in 1998 at Marsh Valley, where he introduced the double-wing offense to Idaho.

He became the coach at Century when the school opened in 1999 and led the team to 4A titles (the state's second-highest classification) in 2000 and 2001. His son, Jordon, was the 4A player of the year in 2001.

Coffin posted a 90-77 record at 4A Vallivue. In 17 seasons under Coffin, the Falcons made the state playoffs eight times, reaching the semifinals in 2018. Last season, they went 5-5 and made the postseason for the fifth year in a row.

Coffin said that Churchill, with an enrollment of slightly more than 1,000, is “almost identical” to his situation at Vallivue.. The Lancers went 3-6 in 2022 in their only season under coach Kirk Miller.

“Hopefully I can help a little bit and give them some direction,” Coffin said. “They're really good kids. I really enjoy being around them. It's been kind of a whirlwind, but I like building, those kind of things. Building things up, trying to have kids feel good about themselves and what they've accomplished. And I think it's a great place for that.”

Over the years, Coffin became acquainted with Oregon coaches by instructing at camps such as the Tim Camp Football Camp at Eastern Oregon University and the Nike clinics in Portland.

Coffin's teams have played many Oregon teams, but he has much to learn about the football landscape in the state. He said coaches such as Springfield's Frank Geske, Barlow's Tracy Jackson and North Eugene's Rick Raish have been helpful in his adjustment, as has former Churchill coach AJ Robinson, who is entering his first season in charge at Sprague.

Robinson went 36-21 in six seasons with the Lancers (2016-21), leading them to a 12-1 record and 5A runner-up finish in 2017, their first appearance in the final in 32 years.

“He's a really good guy and he's kind of helping me out, talking me through some things,” Coffin said of Robinson.

Coffin said turnout heading into preseason camp was about 60, less than ideal, but he is hopeful it will rise to near 70 before the Lancers play their first game.

“With me coming in late, I think we've had some kids decide to pursue their football elsewhere,” he said.

As the offensive coordinator, Coffin plans to employ a double-wing shotgun spread attack that will deviate a bit from his days at Vallivue. On the other side of the ball, he has retained defensive coordinator Ramone Reed, a former Oregon linebacker.

Churchill opens its season at home against 4A power Marist Catholic and goes to Mountain View before playing host to Eagle Point in its Midwestern League debut.

“I'm just glad to be here,” Coffin said. “I'm in knee-deep, but it's fun. It's been going really good so far. We'll see at the end of the season if I feel the same about it.”