As one of Oregon's most highly decorated high school football coaches, Lake Oswego's Steve Coury often is quick to credit his longtime assistants.
So Coury was especially gratified when Karl Halberg, who joined Coury when he took over the program in 1992, was honored with a national coaching award this week.
Halberg was one of 21 assistant coaches recognized with the High School Broyles Award in a banquet Monday night in Little Rock, Ark. He was nominated by the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association.
“I'm the guy that stands in front and gets all the credit, and it's guys like Karl that do all the work,” said Coury, who is 266-91 with two state titles in 31 seasons. “The other guys on the staff are so proud of him. They had a piece in it, too. Karl getting that is like a nod to the program.”
The Broyles Award was established in 1996 to recognize top college assistant coaches and was expanded in 2019 to include high school assistants. It has grown to award coaches from 21 states.
Halberg said he was “shocked and surprised” to receive the award.
“I'm a guy that's pretty happy just being in the background and doing my part,” Halberg said. “It's a great honor to represent the state of Oregon and our program at LO. I'm really appreciative of the recognition, even though I would've been fine without it. It's just a reflection on our whole group. We've got a core group of guys there forever, and Steve's leadership and direction has been unbelievable.”
Halberg, who played at Oregon State with Coury, was Lake Oswego's offensive coordinator for 29 seasons. The last two seasons, he has worked alongside his son, Nick, who took over as the offensive coordinator.
Coury credits Halberg with the evolution of Lake Oswego's offense from a basic I-formation running game to a diverse attack.
“We slowly started evolving, as the game did, too,” Coury said. “We were stuck in our ways, and we were successful. And then the game changed, and as it changed, Karl was great at changing. Karl kind of took it and ran with it, got it better.”
Coury and Halberg initially agreed to coach the Lakers for one season and it has become a way of life. Assistant coaches Brian Newcomer and Frank Everhart have been in the staff for 31 and 28 years, respectively. Halberg's sons, Lake Oswego graduates Nick and Brad, have joined the coaching staff.
Halberg said he couldn't have imagined how his coaching career has played out.
“Not in a million years,” he said. “It was a one-year deal. We just were going to get together and have fun and do a cool thing for a year. We had so much fun doing it, we spent the next 30 years figuring out a way to keep doing it. It's been an unbelievably rewarding experience.”
Has Halberg ever aspired to be a head coach?
“I've been asked that a lot, and I'm like, 'Why would I ever leave here?'” Halberg said. “I'm in the best situation ever, coaching with my buddies. And with Steve, we get to coach. He gives us a ton of responsibility. I've said forever, 'If Steve retires on Tuesday, I'll retire on Wednesday.'”
McGowan steps down
Chris McGowan, who coached Corvallis to a 5A title in 2006, has stepped down as the Spartans' coach.
McGowan went 99-106 in 21 seasons at Corvallis, including a 12-1 mark in 2006, when the Spartans defeated West Albany 17-14 in triple overtime in the state final. Corvallis struggled to an 0-9 record this season, going winless for the first time since 2000.
McGowan stayed on through last season to coach his son Caden, who was a senior on the team. He will continue teaching social studies at the school.
“Personally it was a good time. Just a lot of factors coming together,” McGowan told the Corvallis Gazette-Times. “Just where I’m at professionally and ready to try something new. Just do some other avenues.”
McGowan was a junior on Corvallis' state championship team in 1983 and won a state wrestling title at 178 pounds as a senior in 1985. He began coaching at Corvallis in 1999.
Finally, Centennial is getting artificial turf for its football field.
The school is scheduled to break ground May 12 on a project that includes a new football field and track. The project, funded with money from a district property sale, is scheduled to be completed near the start of the football season.
“It's been a long wait and process,” athletic director Daunte Gouge said. “They started looking at it 10 or 15 years ago, and now they're pulling the trigger.”
Centennial's grass football field has a 36-inch crown. Up to 9,000 yards of dirt must be removed to level it out and install the artificial turf.
“In the past, it's just been a mud bog,” Gouge said. “It doesn't drain well. The field's got a lot of headaches.”
The new field and track are Phase 1 of a facilities improvement plan. The next phases include artificial turf for the baseball and softball fields and a practice field behind the football stadium.
The district recently renovated its tennis courts and swimming pool.